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September 27, 2020

On April 22

India: Maharashtra to discuss Casino Act

India: Maharashtra to discuss Casino Act
The state home department has called for a joint meeting of secretaries of all relevant departments, including the director general of police and Mumbai police commissioner, on April 22 to discuss the Maharashtra Casino Act (Control and Tax) 1976.
India | 04/20/2016

The state home department has called for a joint meeting of secretaries of all relevant departments, including the director general of police and Mumbai police commissioner, on April 22 to discuss the Maharashtra Casino Act (Control and Tax) 1976.

T

his follows a direction from the Bombay High Court, asking the government to take a decision, within reasonable time, on implementation of a four-decade-old law that makes it legal to run casinos in the state. In the meeting, various options, including notifying the law and formulating rules, recommending the law's repeal or introducing amendments to improve the law, will be discussed.

The court had given the direction last year, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Jay Sayta, asking the government to look holistically into the issue and decide about implementation of the law in a time-bound manner.

Sayta, who was also called to attend the meeting, said, "The government has to implement laws framed by the legislature and has no discretion on whether or not to implement it. The government has to either decide to notify and enforce the law or repeal the legislation. It cannot keep the legislation in cold storage or abeyance forever. It has to take a decision one way or the other and inform the people of the state."

Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Sayta had received a communication of the governor's assent on July 22, 1976. In December last year, he wrote a letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him to notify it, but there was no response.

Following which, he moved the high court, which disposed of the PIL, directing the government to take a decision within reasonable time.

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 that currently allow casinos.

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