Supreme Court Fixes Time Frame for Meghalaya Attorney-General to Respond to Lotteries Issue

January 5, 2023 | Government

NEW DELHI, India (January 3, 2023) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed a time frame for the Attorney-General for India and Meghalaya government to respond on the maintainability of Meghalaya and Sikkim government’s petition on Section 5 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998, challenging the powers of other state governments to ban the two lotteries in their respective states.

The state government and the AG were given respectively one and two weeks’ time to respond. The other defendants were also instructed to provide their written statements within two weeks. The next hearing will be held on February 7.
Attorney General R Venkataramani had notified the Supreme Court that the Centre has raised preliminary concerns over the suit’s eligibility to continue to challenge Section 5 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998. Venkataramani said to the bench that consists of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy that they have objections to the maintainability of the suit.
The SC was petitioned by the governments of Meghalaya and Sikkim in opposition to the decision to outlaw their state lotteries in other states. According to Section 5 of the Act, the Centre has given state governments the authority to forbid the sale of tickets for a lottery that is organised, run, or promoted by any other state.

The AG informed the bench that the SC has rendered two contradictory rulings on the viability of legal actions to challenge statutory provisions. A bigger bench was eventually entrusted, and the court was informed that it had come up in August last year, he said.
AG made a pitch that the bench can wait for an outcome of proceedings or alternatively he can make a submission. In response, the bench said, “If the maintainability itself is challenged, then that particular issue will have to be determined.”
In the meantime, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who arrived during the middle of the session, said that a lawsuit will always be filed in an attempt to overturn a rule. The counsel agreed saying, “It’s a purely legal question of whether section 5 is valid or not. If a question is raised, it must have some basis…According to me, a suit lies under section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure.”

The bench responded, saying, “Basis or no basis will be determined by the Court.”

SOURCE: The Shillong Times.

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