Anti-gaming bill re-adopted, Tamil Nadu House to seek Governor’s nod

By T Muruganandham| Express News Service | Published: 24th March 2023 07:27 AM
Image used for representational purpose.

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday re-adopted the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022 without any changes. It will be sent to Governor RN Ravi for his assent. 

Since the DMK came to power, this is the second bill to be re-adopted by the House due to the governor returning them. The bill to dispense with NEET for undergraduate medical admission in TN was re-adopted on February 8, 2022. 

The bill to ban online gambling was first adopted by the House on October 19, 2022. After 141 days, the governor returned it on March 6 stating the legislature lacked legislative competence to enact the bill.  
Moving the bill in the House on Thursday, Chief Minister MK Stalin said he was tabling it with a heavy heart as 41 persons had died by suicide due to online gambling.

Quoting the plea for a ban made by one victim, he said, “This bill has not been drafted using only intelligence but also compassion. We may differ for political reasons... but there should be no difference on eliminating online gambling, which kills people.

The state government has the right to discipline, guide and protect the people within its jurisdiction. Union Minister Anurag Thakur on March 21 told Parliament that state governments have the power to enact legislation to ban online gambling as the subject comes under Entry 34 of the State List.” 

Form another panel on anti-gaming bill, says BJP

“I wish to declare in this august House that we cannot rule the state by putting our conscience on sleep mode. This Bill is being tabled to protect moral justice and discipline. I appeal to all members to support this bill to prevent the loss of one more life due to online gambling,” the CM said.

Stalin recalled that the School Education Department had conducted a survey among the 2.04 lakh teachers to know the impact of online games on students last year. As many as 74% of the teachers said these games have affected the ability of students to concentrate while 64% said there was a setback to the intelligence quotient, writing skills and creativity of students due to online games.

Besides, 75% of the teachers were of the view that these games have reduced self-esteem while increasing the tendency to get angry. It also induced indiscipline among the students, they felt. After eliciting the views of all stakeholders through public hearings and based on the recommendations of the committee headed by retired judge K Chandru, the bill to ban online gambling was adopted by the Assembly on October 19. But the governor returned the bill.

The state cabinet discussed the governor’s questions and the state’s responses before deciding to re-adopt the bill in the Assembly. Almost all political parties in the House openly supported the bill except for the BJP. Significantly, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader MH Jawahirullah suggested that if the governor fails to give his assent within a certain time, the TN government should move the Supreme Court to save the lives of its people as the Chief Justice of India had already taken a tough stance on the activities of the Governors.

Though expressing support for banning online gambling, BJP floor leader Nainar Nagenthran said the government should form another expert committee and enact a new legislation without contradicting the legislation of the central government in this regard. If that is done, the BJP would support it, he said. Leaders of most of the parties criticised the governor for denying his assent to the bill. When Nagenthran objected to this, the Speaker M Appavu said the members had not said anything personally against the governor. Nevertheless, he said he had expunged certain remarks.

Tags :  Tamil Nadu Assembly RN Ravi anti-gaming bill online gambling

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