Online rummy epidemic in Tamil Nadu: MK Stalin brings in Justice Chandru to study the impact of the menace!

(This article is authored by Alar, a freelance content writer) 

With growing suicides due to losing more money, online rummy has become an epidemic in Tamil Nadu where several people have committed suicide in recent times, alarming the government to address the imminent threat. As it has become a menace for the people and after the outrage over the death of a Chennai woman who committed suicide after losing money in online rummy, the state government has come up with the measure to play the damage control. 

Chief Minister MK Stalin has brought in retired Madras High Court Judge Justice Chandru to study the impact of the online rummy. On Friday - June 10, the government announced that the Chief Minister has formed a special four-member committee led by Chandru. The panel would consist of IIT Professor Sankararaman, Sneha NGO founder cum Psychologist Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar and ADGP Vinit Yadav Wankhade. 

The panel has been tasked to work on drafting an emergency law to ban online rummy.  It has been given two weeks time to submit a report to the government to curb the menace. A release issued by the government on Friday said, "Considering the immediate need for finding a solution to the social problem (online rummy), an ordinance would soon be promulgated based on the committee's recommendation. The law would be a model law for other states to emulate." 

The decision to constitute the committee was made at a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister at the Secretariat on Thursday - June 9. As per the reports, the committee would study the negative impact of online rummy like financial loss and the threat of suicide with the help of relevant data. The panel would also examine the social impact of advertisements which prompt people to play online rummy and identify appropriate methods to control such advertisements. 

As the number of Internet users has multiplied each day, so has the number of people involved in online rummy. A law was passed by the previous regime on February 25, 2021, against the online rummy. The High Court bench comprised of the Chief Justice heard the petitions filed by certain companies to repeal the Act. After the hearing, the High Court has on August 3, 2021, had quashed the Act stating that the Act had been promulgated without sufficient cause and evidence. 

Further, when the Madras High Court dismissed the Act, it had opined that it had failed to explain the scientific data for the passage of the Act. The appeal filed by the Government on November 13, 2021, in the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict is yet to be heard by the apex court. Notably, the laws against online rummy in states like Kerala and Karnataka have been overturned by the respective state high courts. In this situation, the tragic events of getting inspired by online rummy and losing money are taking place incessantly.

At the meeting held on June 9, the panel has been instructed to explore the potential risk, including financial loss and caused by the online rummy games. In the wake of growing suicides, the DMK government has come under fire from the Opposition for not enacting a law banning online rummy. On June 5, a Chennai woman named Bhavani (29) had committed suicide after losing money and jewellery in online gambling. She had lost Rs 3 lakh and around 20 sovereigns of jewellery.

She was working in a private medical firm and she had married Bhagyaraj and the couple has two children. On Sunday - June 5, her husband found her hanging in their residence and Bhavani was rushed to the government hospital where she was declared brought dead. On Thursday - June 9, another Chennai woman, 39-year-old Bhuvaneshwari had committed suicide after her husband had lost money, which she has kept for her son's educational fee, by playing online rummy.