26 Feb 2015

Andhra High Court refuses to grant interim relief to rummy clubs citing pending Mahalakshmi matter

The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently refused to grant interim relief to rummy clubs like Hyderabad-based Chiraan Fort club which offers real money rummy to its members as per media reports. Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar while refusing to grant interim relief to rummy clubs stated that the matter as to whether rummy can be played for stakes is pending before the Supreme Court. He added that the issue of whether rummy for stakes is legal in the state needs to be further examined in detail.

Management of Chiraan Fort and other clubs claimed that the closure of their clubs by the police was illegal due to the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. K. Satyanarayana and other decisions. The government pleader for the state of Telangana however stated that the division bench of the Madras High Court in Director General of Police v. Mahalakshmi Cultural Association had disallowed real money rummy for stakes as per the Madras City Police Act.

He added that the Mahalaksmi matter is pending in the Supreme Court and the stay is only applicable for the parties involved in the matter (which includes Mahalakshmi Cultural Association, other Tamil Nadu based clubs and online rummy websites Ace2Three and Rummycircle). The judge accepted the government pleader’s contention and listed the matter for further hearing while denying interim relief to the clubs.

Interestingly, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had earlier observed that playing rummy for stakes was not illegal within the state in D Krishna Kumar v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2002) and Cinema Cultural Centre, Jubilee Hills v. Commissioner of Police (2002). However the changed dynamics in light of the adverse Mahalakshmi Cultural Association verdict of the Madras High Court and pending appeal proceedings in the Supreme Court prompted the Court not to grant interim relief at this stage. While, the order of the Court is a setback for rummy in India, the order will not have any significant impact on proceedings in the Supreme Court or other High Courts since it is only an interim order, and the matter is still pending final disposal.

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