The Bombay High Court directed Maharashtra government to respond to a public interest litigation which demands that a decades-old law which makes it legal to run casinos in the state be brought into force.
According to the petitioner Jay Satya, a law student, the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act was passed by the Legislative Assembly and published in the government gazette in July 1976. However, it has not been notified yet.
The division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah gave the government four weeks to respond.
Satya found out through the Right to Information that the Act received the Governor’s assent on July 22, 1976. Last December, he wrote a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis requesting him to notify it but there was no reply.
The Act provides for licensing of casinos, permitting certain types of casino games, taxation of the money paid or agreed to be paid by the participants by way of stakes or bets, etc.
Goa and Sikkim are the only two states which currently allow casinos, the PIL says, alleging that the government of Maharashtra has “arbitrarily and unreasonably” kept in abeyance the Act by not notifying it.