Mumbai News

Bombay HC directs Mumbai, Pune police to decide afresh on licenses for rummy tournaments – Hindustan Times

The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the licensing police authorities of Mumbai and Pune city police to pass fresh orders on applications filed by Competitive Tournament Rummy Players Association (CTRPA) for licenses for organising competitive rummy tournaments in Maharashtra.

The division bench of justice RD Dhanuka and justice VG Bisht directed the licensing authorities to decide within eight weeks the applications filed by CTRPA for premises license, performance license and license for sale of tickets, after giving an opportunity of hearing to the representative of CTRPA.

The directive was issued in a petition filed by Milind Limaye, founder and president of CTRPA, through advocate Shivani Samel, challenging March 2, 2020 order passed by the additional chief secretary, home department, holding that Rummy tournament sought to be conducted by CTRPA was in the nature of gambling activity and that the association was not entitled to premises license, performance license and sale of ticket license, to hold Rummy skill game tournaments in a Card Court Café.

Limaye’s counsel, advocate Shruti Tulpule pointed out that though the appellate authority rejected their appeal, it directed the licensing authorities of both Mumbai and Pune police to decide pending applications filed by CTRPA. She pointed out that applications dated February 14, 2020 were pending before the licensing authorities when the order of March 2 was passed, but the licensing authorities of Mumbai and Pune police have not decided the applications yet.

Additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik responded by complaining that though the applications are rejected by licensing authorities, appeals against the same are rejected, multiple applications and petitions were being filed by the association on the same issue.

HC, however, accepted Tulpule’s contention and directed the licensing authorities to decide the pending applications after hearing CTRPA representative. The bench also clarified that the licensing authorities shall not be influenced by the observations made and conclusions drawn by the additional chief secretary in his March 2 order.

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Thus, the licensing authorities will have to decide afresh, if holding of game of skill rummy tournaments would amount to gambling and whether the activity is exempted under Section 13 of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887.

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Limaye, in his petition, has stated that CTRPA proposes to promote the concept of Card Court Café, which integrates an eating house and a place for amusement in the form of games. Thus, the petition states, a Card Court Café will have an eating section – Café and a playing section – Card Court. A ‘Card Court’ will be similar to a Tennis Court or Badminton Court, where a particular game is played in a specific competition format, designed to increase the skill, and where skill will determine the overall outcome of the game, rather than chance, which is peculiar to gambling.