The Legislature and the Judiciary have always looked down on gambling of any sort. But honestly, how many of us can honestly say that we have never bought a lottery ticket maybe commercial one or the small lotteries in school and college events? Or is there anyone who has never played housie/lotto before?
Now among all types of gambling the legislature has made few exceptions for horse-racing, dog-racing, lotteries, etc. So, why did Imran Hashmi bet on cricket matches in ‘Jannat’when he could have (to some extent) legally placed bets on horses? Who knows!
Lottery Laws in India
Lotteries, in particular, are governed by The Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998 which is the central legislation that lays down guidelines and restrictions in conducting lotteries. The State Governments have been given the responsibility of authorizing/conducting the lotteries. That means to organize a lottery, an agency first requeries authorization from the state. The state itself can organize lotteries. Now the laws may differ from state to state. But the basic principles remain the same. Sec 30 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 says, among other things,“no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager, or entrusted to any person to abide the result of any game or other uncertain event on which may wager is made”.
What does it mean? Well to put it rather simply – It is legal to buy a lottery ticket. BUT the winner of a lottery has no right to claim the winnings or get any other sort of relief or remedy against the lottery agency, ifthat agency refuses to pay the winnings. Still think it’s worth the risk? And you probably thought that the possibility of the lottery results being fixed was a bigger problem.
Why is there such a law existent? Justice Dharmadhikari was nice enough to give an answer to that question in Subhash Kumar Manwani v. State of Madhya Pradesh- “To treat an agreement by way of wager as void is that the law discourages people to enter into games of chance and make earning by trying their luck instead of spending their time, energy and labour for more fruitful and useful work for themselves, their family and the society”
Indeed, lotteries have been known for ruining the economy and for being a hindrance to social development. Now, for the bigger question- If the legislature and the judiciary feel that games of chance should be discouraged and we cannot claim the winnings of a lottery, then why is organizing lotteries even legal in India?It would seem a much better idea if either, lotteries were banned altogether or their winnings would be claimable by and under law. As it is most of the common people are not aware that they have no right to claim the winnings and they therefore continue to spend on lottery tickets. Furthermore, lotteries are more luck-based in comparison to many skilled-based games in which betting are illegal.
This author leaves the task of finding the answer to that question, to the reader.
Picture Courtesy: nowpublic.com