Madras HC | Ban Online Games or not? Read HC’s opinion on not entering into such matters. Is it a policy matter? [Detailed Report]

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., while addressing a matter with respect to menace being caused due to online games expressed its opinion whether the Court can ban the same or not.

Petitioner in the instant matter complained of online business enterprises preying on children and young adults by offering divers online games that are addictive.

Submission of petitioner went by stating that since mobile phones have completely taken over our lives and even children and minors crave for an obtain mobile phones, they are supposed to being lured by unscrupulous business enterprises and particularly during the lockdown when schools and educational institutions are closed, many children and young adults are hooked to online games.

In petitioner’s opinion, the said addiction is devastating and life-threatening in the sense that it destroys the career-building phase of a young adult which may even lead to suicidal tendencies and extreme anger against parents and elders seeking to check the habit.

There is no doubt that children and young adults these days are addicted to their phones and their worlds appear to revolve around their mobile phones.

Bench expressed that even constitutional courts should be slow in entering into such areas and dealing with such matters on the personal sense of morality of the individual complainant or the Judge or Judges concerned.

Court elaborated stating that,

There is no doubt that when there is some illegal action or something which is detrimental to larger public interest, constitutional courts intervene; but in the matters of the present kind, especially when elected governments are in place, such matters of policy should be left to the wisdom of those representing the people and having their mandate instead of the Court issuing a diktat.

 High Court added that the duty of the Court is to direct the complainants to the executive for a more wholesome and studied policy decision to be taken by the executive than what may be possible before any Court.

Concluding the matter permitting the petitioner to make representations to the Union of India and to the State added that the larger or long-time effects that these online games have on children and young adults have not been gone into in any great detail in the present proceedings, particularly in the absence of any scientific material in such regard.  [E. Martin Jayakumar v. Government of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2335, decided on 1-07-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner:

Ms.Selvi George

For Respondents:

Mr. K. Srinivasamurthy, Senior Panel Counsel, for respondents 1 to 3

Mr. P. Muthukumar, Counsel for State for respondents 4 to 6

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