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Approach State government: Kerala High Court to petitioner seeking Sunday week off for lottery agents, sellers

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The Kerala High Court has recently disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking direction to the State of Kerala, represented by the Secretary, Department of Labour and the Director, Directorate of State Lotteries, to schedule Sunday as week-off for the lottery agents and sellers in Kerala.

The PIL has been filed by M. Anzarudeen, General Secretary for State of Kerala Lottery Vyapara Samithi Union.

Aparna M Nair, Counsel for the petitioner, submitted that there are thousands of lottery agents in Kerala and they are not allowed to take a single day off due to the printing of lottery tickets on a daily basis. Moreover, people working as sellers/lottery agents have to deal with the external and internal factors of loss at their own risk because the government prints lottery tickets even on national holidays. Now, the Government has decided to announce results on Sundays as well.

Further grievance of the petitioner is that the petitioner has already preferred representation dated 16.1.2020 before the Chief Minister of Kerala in this regard. But the same is pending. Therefore, the petitioner sought for a direction to the first respondent/State of Kerala, represented by the Secretary, Department of Labour to consider and pass orders on representation forthwith.

Reference has also been made to Section 6 of the Kerala Paper Lotteries (Regulation) Rules, 2005 which speaks about the duties and responsibilities of lottery agent, which reads thus: “6. Duties and Responsibilities of Lottery Agent:-

(1) An Agent may sell lottery tickets through any number of sub-agents retailers and sellers appointed by him. He shall be responsible for the proper compliance of the Act and Rules by the persons working under him. The agent shall also be liable to keep and produce on demand all particulars of subagents, retailers and sellers under him for certification to the Director or the District Lottery Officer or to any authorized Officer.

(2) No agent shall conduct the sale of tickets through internet or by any other means without prior written permission of the Director and only the sale of physical tickets is permitted.

(3) Every agent shall collect the cost of lottery tickets from sub agents and sellers appointed by him or from the general public only in cash or by way of demand draft or cheque.

(4) No agent shall sell the tickets of the Kerala State Lotteries outside the State of Kerala, directly or indirectly, against the provisions of sub-rule (3) of rule 4.

(5) Every agent shall affix his seal on the reverse of each ticket with details of Name and Agency number.

(6) Lottery tickets shall be delivered to the sub-agent, seller or the general public immediately on receipt of the cost of ticket.

(7) No ticket shall, under any circumstances, be sold above the fact value printed on the ticket.

(8) No person, other than an agent, shall be entitled to club their own schemes with the State lotteries or the sale of its tickets for sales promotion of their products, goods or services and no such agent shall be entitled to do so without prior written permission of the Director.”

Per contra, on instructions, K.P. Harish, Senior Government Pleader submitted that as per the provisions, no draws of lottery shall be conducted on any National Holiday. He further submitted that there is no prohibition for the sale of lottery on Sunday. Provisions are already there and based on the same, Sunday lottery is permitted.

Be that as it may, the Division Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice P. Chaly directed that the representation dated 16.1.2020, copy of which is submitted to the Director, Directorate of State Lotteries , be forwarded to the Secretary to the Government, Taxes Department, Govt. Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram and said representation be disposed of within one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.

“To facilitate the above, Secretary to the Government, Taxes Department, Government Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram is impleaded as additional respondent No.3. Registry is directed to amend the cause title wherever required. Liberty is also given to the petitioner to submit a copy of the representation dated 16.1.2020 to the additional respondent No.3. Writ petition is disposed of”, the order reads.

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