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SC upholds HC verdict on gambling

Published : Tuesday, 18 February, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 174

The Supreme Court (SC) chamber judge on Monday upheld a High Court verdict that declared gambling illegal at 13 clubs and other areas across the country
As Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division Justice Hasan Foez Siddique did not pass any order on a petition filed by two clubs including Dhaka club and Gulshan club seeking stay on the HC judgment, the High Court verdict will remain in force.
Justice Hasan Foez
Siddique, however, sent the government petition to the full bench of the Appellate Division for its hearing on February 24.
Senior Lawyer Barrister Rokon uddin Mahmud, Fida M Kamal, Masu Reza Sobhan argued for the petitioner.
Following a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court lawyers, the HC on February 10 declared gambling illegal at 13 clubs and other areas across the country.
The court also directed law enforcers immediately take steps to confiscate all kinds of equipment used for gambling across the country, including in clubs.
The clubs are-Dhaka Club, Uttara Club, Gulshan Club, Dhanmondi Club, Banani Club, Officers' Club, Dhaka Ladies' Club, Cadet College Club, Chittagong Club, Chittagong Seniors' Club, Narayanaganj Club, Sylhet Club and Khulna Club.
The bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hassan Talukder passed the verdict after hearing on a writ petition and disposing its previous rule.
While delivering verdict the HC observed that the Public Gambling Act, 1867 needs to be time befitting and the punishment for gambling should be increased.
The maximum punishment under this law is three months' jail and a fine of BDT 200 and therefore the punishment should be increased for committing the offence.
The gambling act has been applicable outside the metropolitan areas, but the law could not be enforced in Dhaka city, the HC observed.
In 2016, two Supreme Court lawyers had filed petition seeking the HC's order to stop gambling at 13 social clubs in the city.
The petitioners citing the DMP Ordinance 1976, Chittagong Metropolitan Police Ordinance 1978 and Public Gambling Act 1867 said that any kind of gambling is illegal. But these clubs arrange gambling for their members. Even they have to put the related information on their websites.
On December 4 in 2016, following the writ petition the HC issued a rule asking the government authorities to why directions should not be given to take actions against unlawful business and indoor games mainly cards, dice and housie playing in exchange of money, wager, stake or any other benefits.
At that time, the court had also ordered to stop card and dice games as well as housie involving money at the clubs.
Later on the Dhaka Club moved the Appellate Division and secured a stay order on the HC interim order banning gambling in club.
On January 23, the HC concluded the hearing on the rule and kept its verdict pending.
In September 2019 last year, government launched a crackdown on illegal casinos across the country. Law enforcement agencies conducted around 50 raids across the country where 275 people were arrested for their alleged involvement.
Several leaders and activists of Awami League and its front organisations, local city corporation councillors, in addition to contractors, business persons, etc, were detained in the raids.

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