Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies


Competition Commission of India: While deciding upon the complaint filed against Google alleging contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 the bench of Ashok Kumar Gupta (Chairperson), Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi (Members), held that Google has a dominant position in the market for licensable OS for smart mobile devices in India and market for app store for Android smart mobile OS in India; and it has abused its dominant position in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i), Section 4(2)(a)(ii), Section 4(2)(b)(ii), Section 4(2)(c) and Section 4(2)(e) of the Competition Act, 2002.

The Bench also directed Google to cease and desist from indulging in anti-competitive practices that have been found to be in contravention with Section 4. The Commission also imposed a penalty of Rs. 936.44 crore upon Google for violating Section 4 and directed it to deposit the penalty amount within 60 days of the receipt of this order.

Facts and Allegations:

  • The informants stated that Google’s business model is based on interaction between the online products and services it offers free of charge to users and its online advertising services, from which it derives most of its revenue. It was also stated that Google's core products include- Google Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and Play Store etc., and these services collectively are part of Google Mobile Services (GMS).

  • The Informant further stated that in addition to its core products, Google also launched a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) based payment app called Tez in India, which was rebranded as Google Pay in order to unify Google's payment offerings globally under the ‘Google Pay' brand.

  • The Informant alleged that Google, through its control over the Play Store and Android Operating System (OS), is favouring Google Pay over other competing apps. As per the Informant, this amounts to abuse of its dominant position by Google in violation of various provisions of Section 4 of the Act.

Investigations by the Director General [DG]: During the investigation, the DG identified certain other parties which were concerned with the products of Google like Google Play Store and Google Play Billing System (GPBS) within the scope of the present investigation. Based on the analysis of the factors specified in the Competition Act, DG delineated- Market for licensable mobile OS for smart mobile devices in India; Market for App Stores for Android OS in India; and Market for apps facilitating payments through UPI, as relevant markets.

The DG concluded that Google is dominant in the relevant markets for licensable mobile OS for smart mobile devices in India and the market for App store for Android OS in India. It was further noted that Google imposed unfair and discriminatory conditions in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The DG also noted that Google’s conduct is also resulting in denial of market access to competing UPI apps since the market for UPI enabled digital payment apps is multi-sided, and the network effects will lead to a situation where Google Pay’s competitors will be completely excluded from the market in the long run.

Concerning pre-installation of Google Pay app, the DG noted that the facility of preinstalling their apps is also available to other competing UPI apps like Paytm, PhonePe etc. No exclusivity was observed by the DG in the agreements entered into by Google with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) so far as pre installation of competing UPI apps is concerned. Thus, the investigation did not find sufficient evidence to indicate that Google has abused its dominant position so far as the issue pertaining to preinstallation of Google Pay UPI App is concerned.

Analysis and Findings of the Commission: The Commission perused the matter in a detailed manner and observed the following-

  • Relevant Markets:

    The Commissions noted that in licensable mobile operating system in India makes it evident that Google's Android OS has successfully reaped the indirect network effects that characterize the market of operating systems, which essentially are multi-sided platforms. With its large user base, Android OS is the most preferred licensable OS for app developers, and it is the most valued licensable operating system for any new OEM.

    All relevant factors that define competition landscape, indicate that the relevant market of licensable mobile operating systems in India has tipped in favour of Google Android OS. Thus, the Commission concluded that Android OS and thereby, Google, enjoys a dominant position in the relevant market of licensable operating systems for smart mobile devices in India.

    Concerning relevant market for app stores for Android OS in India, the Commission noted that Play Store is by far the most important app marketplace on the Android ecosystem. Play Store is significant from the point of view of smart mobile device users who consider this as a ‘must have' app and it is perceived to be indispensable for reaching out to the entire spectrum of Android device users.

    The dominance of Play Store stems from the strong indirect network effects that work in its favour, with its large user base as well as a large number of app developers who depend on Play Store to access these users and maximise their reach and revenue potential. These factors, along with Play Store's automatic update functionalities; its close integration with Google Play Services; lack of substitutability between android app store and other OS app stores; and high entry barriers, lead to a reasonable conclusion that Google Play Store occupies a dominant position in the relevant market of app stores for Android OS in India.

    Concerning market for apps facilitating payments through UPI in India, the Commission was of the view that this market is a unique relevant product market given its rapid growth trajectory since 2016. In relation to relevant geographic market, the conditions of competition for supply of UPI apps in homogenous across India including the regulatory framework was noted by the Commission. Consequently, the Commission deemed it appropriate to consider ‘India’ as the relevant geographic market for apps facilitating payments through UPI.

  • Alleged Abuse of Dominant Position:

    Perusing Section 4 of the Competition Act, the Commission identified 3 issues namely-

    Whether making the use of GPBS, exclusive and mandatory by Google for App developers/owners for processing of payments for App and in-app purchases and charging 15-30% commission is violative of Section 4(2)? The Commission was of the view that information available on record is not sufficient to give a finding on the monetization model, followed by Google.

    Whether exclusion of other UPI apps/mobile wallets as effective payment options on Play Store is unfair and/or discriminatory as per Section 4(2)? The Commission was of the view that Google has differentiated between Google Pay UPI app and other competing UPI apps such as, BHIM, Paytm, PhonePe, etc. by integrating its own payment offering using intent flow technology, while the other UPI apps have access to only the collect flow technology on the Play Store. It was concluded that Google has discriminated between developers of similarly placed apps for equally placed transactions.

    The Commission also noted that Google's conduct is also resulting in denial of market access to competing UPI apps and the network effects will lead to a situation where Google Pay's competitors are at a competitive disadvantage in the long run.

    It was pointed out that being the gateway to Android smartphones due to dominance in the relevant markets, Google is uniquely placed to (and is) leveraging this dominance in favour of Google Pay.

    Whether pre-installation and prominence of Google Pay app is in violation of Section 4(2)? The Commission noted that the investigation did not examine the aspect of default status of G-Pay, regarding which the Commission was of the view that setting Google Pay app as the default payment application can outweigh, or even nullify, the benefits of having multiple payment applications pre-installed.

    It was further pointed out that the DG has not examined the implication of tying Google Pay app with the other apps/ services of Google under the Revenue Sharing Agreements. Accordingly, the Commission was not inclined to give any finding on this aspect as well, and the same was left open for appropriate scrutiny.

Conclusions Drawn:

  • Making access to the Play Store, for app developers, dependent on mandatory usage of GPBS for paid apps and in-app purchases constitutes imposition of unfair condition on app developers.

  • Google is found to be following discriminatory practices by not using GPBS for its own applications i.e., YouTube.

  • Mandatory imposition of GPBS disturbs innovation incentives and the ability of both the payment processors as well as app developers to undertake technical development and innovate, which amounts to limiting technical development in the market for in-app payment processing services. Mandatory imposition of GPBS also results in denial of market access for payment aggregators as well as app developers.

  • Practices followed by Google has resulted in it leveraging its dominance in the market for licensable mobile OS and app stores for Android OS, to protect its position in the downstream markets, in violation of the provisions of Section 4(2)(e) of the Competition Act.

  • Different methodologies used by Google to integrate its own UPI app vis-à-vis other rival UPI apps with the Play Store, has resulted in violation of Sections 4(2)(a)(ii), 4(2)(c) and 4(2)(e) of the Competition Act.


  • Google must ensure that its policies are in alignment with the special responsibilities cast upon it being a dominant entity holding the position of a gatekeeper in the Android ecosystem.

  • Google shall allow, and not restrict app developers from using any third-party billing/ payment processing services, either for in-app purchases or for purchasing apps. Google shall also not discriminate or otherwise take any adverse measures against such apps using third party billing/ payment processing services, in any manner.

  • Google shall not impose any Anti-steering Provisions on app developers and shall not restrict them from communicating with their users to promote their apps and offerings, in any manner.

  • Google shall set out a clear and transparent policy on data that is collected on its platform, use of such data by the platform and also the potential and actual sharing of such data with app developers or other entities, including related entities.

  • Google shall not impose any condition (including price related condition) on app developers, which is unfair, unreasonable, discriminatory or disproportionate to the services provided to the app developers.

  • Google shall not discriminate against other apps facilitating payment through UPI in India vis-à-vis its own UPI app, in any manner.

  • The Commission allowed Google, the period of three months from the date of receipt of this order to implement necessary changes in its practices and/or modify the applicable agreements/ policies and to submit a compliance report to the Commission.

[XYZ v. Alphabet Inc., 2022 SCC OnLine CCI 63, decided on 25-10-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Alphabet Inc., Google LLC, Google Ireland Limited, Google India Private Limited and Google India Digital Services Private Limited (Opposite Parties/Google)- Mr. Sajan Poovayya, Senior Advocate with Mr. Karan Chandhiok, Ms. Deeksha Manchanda, Ms. Raksha Aggarwal, Ms. Avaantika Kakkar, Mr. Kaustav Kundu, Ms. Ruchi Verma and Mr. Tarun Donadi, Advocates along with Ms. Auraellia Wang, Mr. Thomas Bohnett and Ms. Smita Ann Andrews;

For Match Group, Inc.- Mr. Jayant Mehta, Senior Advocate with Ms. Sonam Mathur, Ms. Dinoo Muthappa, Mr. Abir Roy, Mr. Dhruv Dikshit, Advocates along with Mr. Mark Buse, Representative of Match Group;

For Alliance of Digital India Foundation- Mr. Abir Roy and Mr. Vivek Pandey, Advocates along with Mr. Tom Thomas, Representative of ADIF.

*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Op EdsOP. ED.



In India, smartphone usage and internet penetration have increased dramatically over the previous decade. This resulted in the widespread acceptance of online gaming as a result of the pervasiveness of mobile devices and the internet. Because the online gaming industry is still mostly unregulated, there has been a growth of both chance and skill-based games. More crucially, the popularity of real money gaming has skyrocketed. COVID-19’s isolation has led to a huge increase in the number of casual internet gamers in India.

Gambling is placing a wager on the outcome of an event or game with an unknown outcome. People who gamble put a certain amount of money on the line in order to win more. Thus, we can say that gambling is an activity that is dependent on the luck and outlet of an individual who placed a bet on an event; whereas betting is a type of gambling that is defined as an organised commercial activity between two parties in which one party predicts the outcome of the event and places the bet, and the other party who loses the bet agrees to pay the player the money.

During the pandemic, the gaming industry exploded, and India lacks a comprehensive legal framework to support it. Regulation has been far outpaced by technology. India’s gaming regulations are out of date, and as a result, their application to online structures is complicated. The conflict between the centre and the States, as well as the differing perspectives of various Indian courts, makes it difficult for businesses to understand what activities are authorised in the sector.

In Financial Year 2020, the market value of India’s gaming business was estimated to be approximately INR 90 billion. By 2022, it is expected that this figure would have risen to approximately INR 143 billion. The sector has been rapidly growing in the country, with analysts predicting that over 40,000 new employment possibilities would be available by 2021. In India, online gaming will reach 500 million players by 2025.

In this article, we are going to discuss the legal conundrums in which these online cards game have been caught and how some State Governments are bringing amendments into their respective Gaming Act to put a ban on these games. Further, in this paper, we are going to discuss how various High Courts in India have upheld the validity of these amendments by creating a distinction between “game of skill versus game of chance”.

Legality of online rummy in India

Under the Constitution, betting and gambling are considered State subjects, and each State has the sole legislative authority to adopt laws governing betting and gaming within its borders. Certain Indian States have passed their own legislation to govern betting and gaming inside their borders (“State enactments”), while others have accepted the Public Gambling Act, 18671 (PGA). The PGA and most State enactments (collectively, “gaming enactments”) were created before the advent of virtual/online gambling, and hence largely ban gambling operations that take place within physical premises, described as a “common gaming house”.

Section 122 of the Public Gaming Act carves out an exception for those games where an element of skill predominates the element of chance. To put it another way, skill games are excluded from the Public Gambling Act in India. The Indian courts have used the so-called “dominant factor test” to determine if a game is a game of skill or a game of chance. A game of “mere skill,” according to this criterion, is one in which the element of skill is the most important component in selecting the game’s winner.

The jurisprudence behind the gaming and betting laws has been evolved through various judicial pronouncements. The Supreme Court in R.M.D. Chamarbaugwalla v. Union of India3 has construed the words “mere skills” to include games that are based on a preponderance of skill and laid down that competition where a substantial degree of skill is involved will not come into the category of “gambling” even if an element of chance is present in it. The Supreme Court observed that whether a game is of chance or skill has to be decided from a case-to-case basis. Following the rationale of Chamarbaugwalla4 case, the Supreme Court in State of A.P. v. K. Satyanarayana5 held that game of rummy is not entirely based on the game of chance, it involves a substantial degree of skill. The Supreme Court based its conclusion on the fact that the game of rummy involves memorising the fall of cards and the building up of rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards.

Some States are trying to regulate online gaming by bringing an amendment to their respective State Gaming Act. For instance, Section 14 of the Kerela Gaming Act, 1960 provides that provision of the Act will not be applicable to any game where skill is involved. Section 14-A, which was added at later date, states that the Government may exempt any game from the Act by notifying the public in the Gazette if it is satisfied that the element of skill outweighs the element of chance in the game. Accordingly, the Kerala Government issued a notification exempting “rummy” from the Act on the term that no side betting shall be allowed under Section 14-A. However, in February 2021, the State of Kerala issued a new notification, modifying the previous one by adding the phrases “except online rummy when played for stakes”.6 The argument from the State was that gambling and betting come under Entry 34 in List II and the State has the power to legislate on the subject-matter. The Government argued that online rummy is not primarily a skill-based game and there was an element of cheating involved and that even the card deal was manipulated. The State argued that because the judgment in K. Satyanarayana7 case was handed down before Section 14-A was enacted, it was impracticable to apply it to all the decisions because it did not examine the case where the enactment contained Section 14-A.

Similarly, the Government of Tamil Nadu comes up with Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 which has amended the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 19308. The Amendment Act prohibited all forms of games being conducted in cyberspace, irrespective of the game involved being a game of mere skill if such game is played for a wager, bet, money, or other stakes. In the 1930 Act, Section 11 provided that games of “mere skills” will be exempted from the application of the 1930 Act thereby games that involve “mere skill” were not considered as an offence however the amended Section 11 under the 2021 Amendment Act, it provides that the games of mere skill will be considered as an offence if such games are played for a wager, bet, money or other stakes.

Some of the other important features of the Amendment Act are that the definition of the word “game” has been expanded, Section 3-A has been introducing in the Act to prohibit wagering or betting in cyberspace. The State’s argument was that because the legislature, as the rightful representative of the people in the State, considers betting in cyberspace to be pernicious, and because the State has exclusive authority under the Constitution to legislate in the field of betting, the amending statute meets the standards because the legislation’s goal is to stop gambling and ensure that citizens are protected. The State also argues that activities being of gambling nature cannot be regarded as trade or commerce and no one can claim any right in respect of such activities under Article 19(1)(g)9 of the Constitution10 and all online games are invariably open to manipulation. Therefore, no distinction needs to be made in such regard between games of chance and games of skill.

What is the issue all about

It is an undisputed fact that the whole area of online rummy’s business is regulated in a grey area. There is no definite law in place regarding its legality regulations or its taxes. With its meteoric ascent, there has been a surge in interest in the legality of the game of online rummy, specifically whether they will come under betting/gambling or fall under the legally permissible category of “game of skill”. The legal concern with online rummy arises from the fact that, in most cases, these games include real money transactions and are frequently compared to betting and gambling.

The argument of the Tamil Nadu Government in Junglee Games India (P) Ltd. v. State of T.N.11 was also based on the same line of reasoning. The Tamil Nadu Government was of the view that the policy decision to bring the amendment in the 1930 Act is to prevent the addictive tendency which is resulting in multiple instances of suicide and financial losses. The State argues that the target audience for these games is the young and uneducated since the games provide “simple incentives in the form of real cash as prizes.12 However, the Court observed that when legislation is challenged based on overbearing paternalism, a cost-benefit analysis must be conducted to see if the benefit in the form of public good surpasses the cost of the person being robbed of his freedom of choice. The Court also observed that paternalistic legislation might be used to control activities when it is thought necessary or if the undesirable effects of overindulgence in certain activities are sought to be eradicated. The Court further observed that the stronger the moral foundation for controlling an activity, the greater the degree of authoritarianism exercised by the Government in stopping persons from exercising their freedom of choice, under the garb of protecting such persons from such activity. So, to counter the State argument the Court noted that, in the absence of any scientific or empirical evidence to support the proposed action, the amending Act may be seen as adopted out of a feeling of morality rather than a genuine attempt to reduce the (perceived) impact of such games.

It is worth noting that the Law Commission of India, in its 276th Report13 on the legalisation of gambling and sports betting in India, suggested that skill-based games may be exempted from the definition of gambling, without identifying which activities would qualify as “games of skill”.

Given the preceding Supreme Court rulings, it is clear that the legality of online fantasy sports is contingent on whether they are considered a “game of skill” or a “game of chance.” Several prestigious academic institutions, like the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-B), have performed empirical research to prove that fantasy sports are skill-based activities. In a study conducted by researchers from MIT and Columbia University, it was found that participants involved in fantasy sports (Cricket and Basketball) demonstrate a higher degree of skill than that of mutual fund managers managing stock portfolios.14

Game of skill versus game of chance

First and foremost, a thing which should be kept in mind while deciding the legal matrix of the game of online rummy in India is to understand the distinction between a “game of skill” and a “game of chance”, as these distinctions have a significant impact on the status of online rummy in India. In order to win in a game of skill, a player must devote time to learning, practicing, and mastering their talent. In such games, one’s ability to win is determined by how well one understands the rules and common practices, as well as how efficiently one plays. The player can become an expert and assure success over time. Physical real-world sports are largely skill-based rather than chance-based activities whereas, in a game of chance, chance takes precedence over ability, and the outcome of the game is heavily influenced by luck or chance. There is no way to anticipate who will win because the decisive variables are coincidental. However, in the real world, the boundary between ability and chance is blurred, and most games include both. Most card games, for example, are games of chance with a possibility of winning based on a player’s ability.

The Indian courts have adopted a simple method to understand the distinction between the two: a game of skill may be learned through time, but a game of chance cannot because it is dependent on the occurrence or non-occurrence of a certain event. Games of skill are permitted in most parts of the country, but games of chance are strictly forbidden and considered immoral and criminal. The age-old Public Gambling Statute of 1867, for example, is the only primary Act in India that criminalises most aspects of gambling (game of chance). While the Act restricts gambling in the country, it also specifically permits games of “mere skill” to fall under its scope. The Supreme Court, in State of Bombay v. R.M.D. Chamarbaugwala15 construed the phrase “mere skill” to encompass games that are predominately skill-based, despite modest components of chance.16 What constitutes a “game of skill” was first decided in State of A.P. v. K. Satyanarayana17 wherein a game of “rummy” was determined to be a game of skill, involving memorisation and judgment abilities. the court said that “it is principally and preponderantly a game of skill” — and so could not be criminalised under the Public Gambling Act.18 The issue was raised again in K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of T.N.19 when horse racing was ruled to be primarily a skill game. In this instance, the court employed the “preponderant factor test” or “dominant factor test” to determine whether the game is a “game of chance” or a “game of skill”. This test identifies and recognises that most games involve both chance and skill, but the dominance of one component over the other is to be considered as the decisive factor in determining whether it fits under the category of skill or chance in this test.20

Offline versus online game

Many State Governments are bringing an amendment to their respective Public Gaming Act in order to ban online fantasy sports in India. Recently the Karnataka Government has passed the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in order to ban online gaming of all forms except lottery and horse race. Karnataka has joined the ranks of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala in attempting to limit online gaming through law. The Karnataka Government’s law too, wants to prohibit any sorts of online games that include profit, betting, wagering, or cash exchange in any way. One thing which is common in all State Government Amendment Bills is that they are creating a distinction between the online games and the games played in enclosed spaces.

For example, the Kerela Amendment Act tried to put a blanket ban on the game of online rummy when played for stake. Section 14-A of the Amendment Act lists out some exceptions where certain games will be excluded from the ambit of the Act as they involve an element of skill in it and the game of rummy is one of such exemptions in it. Gameskraft (petitioner) sought to challenge the Amendment Act before the Kerela High Court on the ground that the Amendment Act was introduced to put a ban on side batting, it does not distinguish between the game played for stake or without a stake. One of the arguments put forth by these companies in the case is rummy played with stakes would be valid going by the contents of the notification but “online rummy” which is in no way different from the game rummy when played for stakes, would come within the purview of the Gaming Act as per the notification is irrational and arbitrary. Agreeing with the argument put forth by the petitioners in the present case, the Kerala High Court going by the decision laid down in R.M.D. Chamarbaugwalla21 case held that the games which involve a “substantial degree of skill” will come out of the purview of the Act. The Court while declaring the Amendment Act unconstitutional held that “online rummy” is in no way different from playing the game of “rummy” in clubs or enclosed spaces. The Court while going with the decision laid down in K. Satyanarayana22 and K.R. Lakshmanan23 held that game of rummy involves a substantial degree of skill, and “online rummy” also involves a substantial degree of skill, and it is no way different than a game of rummy played in enclosed spaces.

The test to be determined in deciding whether the game should come within the ambit of betting or wagering depends on, whether the game involves a substantial “degree of skill” or it involves “game of chance”. If the online game involves a substantial degree of skill then no prohibition should be imposed on such game as stated in the decision of the Kerala High Court and Madras High Court.


Skill-based gaming cannot be compared with gambling, and it differs from the game of chance as also clearly differentiated under the Indian regulatory framework held by the courts. The Courts have also observed that there is no such distinction between a game played virtually and a game played in enclosed spaces what matters is the game should involve a substantial degree of skill rather than a chance. Moreover, the Indian courts have time and again have struck down the amendments to laws that put a blanket ban on games that involve a substantial degree of skill.

Instead of such sweeping prohibitions, State Governments should implement exclusive laws to control online games, since these prohibitions would only encourage illicit gaming throughout the country. Regulation of the online gaming industry will certainly help in removing uncertainties that have arisen due to separate State laws on gaming. Putting a blanket ban on online gaming industries will result in a loss of revenue for the country. This sector has seen tremendous growth, with analysts predicting that over 40,000 new employment possibilities would be available by 2021. Thus, putting a complete ban will prove to be a disincentive for domestic and foreign investment in India.

† Authors are 4th year students of BA LLB (Hons.), West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata and can be reached at <>.

1. Public Gambling Act, 1867.

2. Public Gambling Act, 1867, S. 2.

3. AIR 1957 SC 628 (per T.L. Venkatarama Ayyar, J.).

4. AIR 1957 SC 628.

5. AIR 1968 SC 825 (per M. Hidayatullah, J.).

6. Head Digital Works (P) Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 3592 (per T.R. Ravi, J.).

7. AIR 1968 SC 825.

8. Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930.

9. Constitution of India, Art. 19(1)(g).

10. Constitution of India.

11. 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2762 (per Sanjib Banerjee, J.).

12. 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2762 (per Sanjib Banerjee, J.).

13. Law Commission of India, Report No. 276 on Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting Including in Cricket in India, (July 2018).

14. Vishal Misra, Devavrat Shah, and Sudarsan V.S. Ranganathan, “Is It Luck or Skill: Establishing Role of Skill in Mutual Fund Management and Fantasy Sports”, 2020, <> (last visited on 8-6-2022).

15. AIR 1957 SC 699.

16. R.M.D. Chamarbaugwalla v. Union of India, AIR 1957 SC 628 (per T.L. Venkatarama Ayyar, J.).

17. AIR 1968 SC 825.

18. State of A.P. v. K. Satyanarayana, AIR 1968 SC 825 (per M. Hidayatullah, J.).

19. (1996) 2 SCC 226.

20. K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of T.N., (1996) 2 SCC 226 (per Kuldip Singh. J.).

21. AIR 1957 SC 628.

22. AIR 1968 SC 825.

23. (1996) 2 SCC 226.