MeitY Responds to SOCH’s PIL, Affirming Centre’s Control over Online Gaming Regulation

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The Centre Responds to PIL on Regulatory Ambiguity in Online Gaming

The Centre has issued a response to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Noida-based NGO Social Organization for Creating Humanity (SOCH) in July. The PIL raised concerns about the constitutional validity of the 2023 Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, which were implemented to regulate online gaming.

SOCH labeled the rules as arbitrary and unconstitutional, claiming that they have led to a regulatory ambiguity in the online gaming sector in India. The NGO also argued that the division of powers between the states and the central government in regulating the industry has become a subject of debate.

In response, the Centre has stated that it has the authority to regulate matters pertaining to online gaming under Entry 31 of List I (Union List) and Entry 97 (residual powers). These powers extend beyond state boundaries and are categorized under “Inter-State trade and commerce.”

The rules were developed and announced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) after extensive consultations with both the public and industry stakeholders. The Centre emphasized that the rules were created with the aim of enhancing the safety and reliability of online gaming platforms.

Additionally, the Centre addressed SOCH’s claims that the government is outsourcing the process of self-regulatory bodies (SRBs) to private entities. The Centre stated that this move would actually enhance the safety and reliability of online gaming platforms.

The response from the Centre comes after a period of debate and uncertainty surrounding the regulation of online gaming in India. The PIL filed by SOCH has brought attention to the constitutional and regulatory issues surrounding the industry. The Centre’s reply in the Delhi High Court now marks a significant development in this ongoing legal issue.

As the situation continues to unfold, stakeholders in the online gaming industry are closely following the legal proceedings and awaiting further clarification on the regulation of the sector.