• Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:33 am

SC: Gambling to remain illegal, but no raid on clubs

  • Published at 09:19 pm March 5th, 2020
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On February 10, the High Court declared all sorts of gambling illegal and issued six directives

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the High Court order declaring gambling illegal but has ordered the law enforcement agencies not to raid clubs across the country until the appeal is resolved.

A seven-member bench, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, served the order on Thursday and allowed an appeal to be moved against the High Court verdict after hearing two separate leave to appeal petitions filed by a total of eight clubs, including Dhaka Club, Gulshan Club and Uttara Club. 

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state while Barrister Redwan Ahmed Runjib stood for the writ petitioner.

Meanwhile, Barristers M Amir-Ul Islam, Rokon Uddin Mahmud, Fida M Kamal and Masood R Sobhan represented the clubs. 

On February 10, the High Court declared all sorts of gambling illegal and issued six directives.

The bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hassan Talukder delivered the verdict after disposing of a rule issued in this regard.

The court also ordered the law enforcement agencies to seize gambling equipment if found anywhere in the country.

In 2016, two Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of indoor games like gambling, dice and card at 13 clubs (Dhaka Club, Uttara Club, Gulshan Club, Dhanmondi Club, Banani Club, Officers Club Dhaka, Dhaka Ladies Club, Cadet College Club, Chittagong Club, Chittagong Seniors Club, Narayanganj Club, Sylhet Club and Khulna).

The petition — citing the DMP Ordinance 1976, Chittagong Metropolitan Police Ordinance 1978 and Public Gambling Act 1867 — said that any kind of gambling was illegal. But these clubs arranged gambling for their members and they even put related information on their websites.

Then on December 4, 2016, the High Court issued a rule seeking an explanation as to why the authorities concerned would not be directed to take steps against organizers of indoor games like gambling, dice and card games in exchange for money in the 13 clubs and in the five districts.

The Dhaka Club authorities later moved the Appellate Division and secured a freeze on the interim order. The apex court had also stayed that order until the disposal of the rule.

On January 23, the High Court concluded the hearing on the rule and kept its verdict pending.

In September last year, the government launched a crackdown on illegal casinos and gambling across the country.

For the next two months, the law enforcement agencies conducted around 50 raids across the country, in the course of which nearly 300 people were arrested for their alleged involvement.

They included several leaders and activists of the Awami League and its affiliated organizations, local city corporation councilors, contractors, businesspersons, etc.

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