The Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court in an order dated 13th April, rejected pleas by four clubs from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, seeking permission for non-interference from the police.

A single judge bench of the High Court consisting of Justice A Ramalingeswara Rao rejected the petitions filed by MLAS’ Colony Residents Welfare and Cultural Association, Karimnagar, Navodaya Sports and Cultural Association, Hyderabad, Advocates’ Recreation Club and ABS Town Hall as there was no concrete evidence of any harassment or wrong-doing by the police, but the clubs had merely filed the plea based on apprehension of unnecessary interference.

The police allegedly claimed that rummy is not a complete game of skill and involves an element of chance.

Justice Rao, concurred with the assertion of the police that whether games of skill or other games like poker are being hosted at clubs can be ascertained only when the police is given the right to enter the premises of these clubs in accordance with the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.

The judge in his order added, “It is difficult for anyone to say what is happening inside the premises. When the fish is in water it is commonly said that it is difficult to prove whether fish is drinking water or not. In such circumstances, the better option for the Courts is to apply the law only whenever the cause of action arises on the facts of a particular case in the light of the provisions of the Act, but not on mere apprehension, assertions and denials.”

The judge also made clear his disagreement with a 2015 order of the same court as well as previous precedents, where directions were issued to the local authorites to not interfere in the game of rummy, regardless of whether it was played for stakes or otherwise.