Madras HC initiates suo motu proceedings to regulate ‘violent’ online games

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, on Thursday, initiated suo motu proceedings to regulate the usage of VPN applications and the YouTube channels which publish tutorials for banned games.

Published: 14th October 2022 03:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th October 2022 03:16 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational Image. (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

MADURAI:  Expressing concern over the addiction of youngsters to violent online games, such as Free Fire and PUBG, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, on Thursday, initiated suo motu proceedings to regulate the usage of Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications and the YouTube channels which publish tutorials for banned games. The Court further urged the Union and State governments to hold awareness camps in schools and colleges about the impact of such games.

A Bench, comprising Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad, initiated the proceedings after hearing a Habeas Corpus Petition (HCP) filed by a woman. The petitioner said her teenage daughter absconded with a man, whom she met while playing Free Fire game. The girl was later traced, but many advocates complained during the hearing that their children are also addicted to such games, the judges noted.

The judges pointed out that such online games are easily available in pirated websites despite the Union government banning them on February 14, 2022, for security reasons. The gamers do not use the Indian server and use another country’s server through Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications, which can be installed from Play Store.

These games contain in-app purchases to buy ammunition, protective gear, unlock further levels and other features. Children and youngsters demand money from parents to buy these features, even going to the extent of stealing money or killing themselves when such demands are not met, the judges said, adding that calls or messages made through the games are not traceable and do not come under the purview of any regulatory authority.

Saying that such violent and addictive games affect youngsters physically and mentally, causing them to lose focus on their studies, the judges directed the Union and State government to submit a detailed report as to why the games are permitted despite a ban. The Union Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), State Home department, Cyber Crime, Resident Grievance Officers of YouTube and Google were added as parties to the case, which was adjourned to October 27.


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