NOC not required to run video game parlour, Maharashtra police informs HC | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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NOC not required to run video game parlour, Maharashtra police informs HC

BySahyaja MS
Feb 12, 2024 06:54 AM IST

The Maharashtra police clarified that obtaining a NOC is not necessary to run a video game parlour, but they will act against parlours involved in unlawful activities. The clarification came during a writ petition filed by the owners of Sai Video Game Parlours who faced harassment for lacking a NOC. The high court ruled that the notification exempting video game parlours from a NOC did not apply to all circumstances and dismissed the petition.

Mumbai: The Maharashtra police on January 29 clarified before the Bombay high court that obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the police is not necessary to run a video game parlour. However, the police said that they will act against parlours allegedly involved in unlawful activities under the guise of video game machines under the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act.

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The clarification came during a writ petition filed by the owners of Sai Video Game Parlours, Harish Babu Shetty and Ashok Gopal Shetty, to seek relief from alleged harassment by law enforcement officials due to the absence of a NOC for their business operations.

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The petitioners argued that despite obtaining the required licence for running a video game parlour under the Maharashtra Entertainment Duty Act, 1923, and diligently paying taxes since 2002, they faced harassment from the police for lacking a NOC. They claimed that the police even shut down their business in 2023, citing the absence of an NOC.

The petitioners further cited a March 2016 notification under the Maharashtra Police Act, which exempted video game parlours from the requirement of a NOC, thus arguing against the necessity of obtaining one.

After reviewing the petition, a bench of justice Revati Mohite Dere and justice Manjusha Deshpande acknowledged the merits of the petitioners’ arguments. However, the high court observed that the notification cited by the petitioners did not extend to all types of amusement parlours under specific sections of the Maharashtra Police Act. Therefore, the court ruled that the notification did not apply to video game parlours in all circumstances.

Additionally, the court took note of an affidavit from the deputy commissioner of police, Mumbai, affirming that the police were aware of the notification but stating that it did not apply to amusement parlours covered by specific sections of the Maharashtra Police Act. The affidavit also mentioned that no complaints had been received against the petitioners’ establishment, and no police officer had visited or inquired about the NOC.

The court noted that while the notification exempted video game parlours from licensing requirements, it did not prevent the police from acting under the provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act. This provision empowers the police to go against establishments engaging in undue pecuniary gain under the pretext of video game machines, thereby addressing concerns related to illegal gambling activities.

Based on these observations, the court dismissed the petition, stating that there was no further basis for consideration.

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