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6 March, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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SC stays HC order to stop gambling

Staff Reporter, Dhaka

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday stayed a High Court order that asked law enforcing agencies to take immediate action against clubs, seize gambling equipments and prevent people from playing such games in clubs across the country.

The apex court, however, upheld the rest of the HC verdict over banning of all sorts of gambling. A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order following two separate leave to appeal petitions filed by eight clubs including Dhaka Club, Gulshan Club and Uttara Club challenging the HC's February 10 verdict. It asked the appellants to file regular appeal before the court against the HC order. After coming out from the court, writ petitioners' counsel Barrister Redwan Ahmed Runjib told reporters that the High Court had on February 10 declared illegal and criminal offence the gambling in any form, involving cards or roll of the dice or luck and through games like bingo, and asked the government to stop these across the country.

The HC bench gave six directives over the matter. But, the apex court stayed the HC order that directed the law enforcing agencies to take immediate actions for seizure of those places (including Dhaka Club and other similar clubs), instruments of games as well as for preventing people from playing such games in those clubs and other clubs in the metropolitan areas and elsewhere. The other part of the HC order has been upheld, he added.

In its order, the HC bench said that Nipun  Khela, Charchari,  Dice,  Housie,  Three  cards,  Flash, Poker  and  any  other  games  (except  government authorized lottery) played physically, electronically or by any   other   instruments,   the   outcome   of   which predominantly  depend  on  luck  and  not  on  skill,  are gambling.

Accordingly, owning, occupying any place of such games and any instruments and allowing such games to take place, is an offence under the law of the land. However, if the above games are played without any  money  or  valuables  being  put  at  stake  (which  isadmittedly not  the  case  in  those  clubs),  they  may  be allowed  to  play  such  games  for  the  purpose  of amusement.  

The HC order also said that keeping  any  place  or  office  for  drawing  lottery,  not being  authorised  by  government,  is  an  offence punishable  under  Section  294  A  of  the  Penal  Code, 1860.

The HC order also said raffle draws/coupons given as a side product of door-tickets for attending picnics or to purchase any products from shopping malls, the dominant intention/purpose in those  cases  being  to  attend  picnic  or  to  purchase products, do not come within the mischief of gambling.

According to the HC order it is expected that the government will think of seriously about amendment of the relevant provisions of law so that  the  prohibition  of  gambling  applies  equally  to  all people in Bangladesh irrespective of their financial and social  status.  The government should also think of seriously about increasing the punishment provided for gambling as the present punishments are minimal considering the financial and other status of the people who are commonly engaged in those games.

After coming out from the apex court, Barrister Masood R Sobhan, a lawyer representing the clubs, told that following the appeal, the SC may provide a guideline on games that can be played in clubs.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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