The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that it is the state government responsible for taking action on online gambling websites and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is not authorised to direct any intermediary to block such sites.
The Centre's affidavit was filed before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh which was hearing a petition seeking directions to the Ministry of Finance, MEITY and Delhi government to take steps to ban websites that are involved in gambling, betting and wagering.
The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on October 11, orally observed that online gambling is dangerous and website earning cannot be at the cost of youngsters.
The plea said despite there being laws enacted by various states prohibiting such activities, a large number of websites providing gambling, betting and wagering games are still accessible in India.
"Since gaming/gambling are state subjects, States are the appropriate governments to issue notice to the intermediaries to block access to any gambling websites. Thus the respondent no. 1 (MEITY) is not authorised to direct any intermediary to block any online gaming or gambling websites," the affidavit, filed through Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, said, adding that the issues relating to FEMA or money laundering or tax evasions do not fall under the domain of MEITY.
"All states are expected to amend their existing state laws to regulate online gambling/games (as done by Sikkim, Nagaland, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu)," it said.