SAJAN CH. MARAK Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF MEGHALAYA
Sajan Ch. Marak
UNION OF INDIA
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MOHAMMAD RAFIQ,CJ. -
(1.) This writ petition by way of Public Interest Litigation [PIL] has been filed by Shri Sajan Ch. Marak, inter alia, with the prayer that the respondents be directed by issuance of a writ of mandamus to close down all running illegally teer-counters in the State and to provide age limit restrictions for entering into the betting of teer and to ensure that the distance in terms of Section 6 of the Meghalaya Regulation of the Game of Arrow Shooting and the Sale of Teer Tickets Act, 2018 [for short 'the Act of 2018] between ticket counters/teer-counters is maintained by the owner and further to direct the respondents to implement the Meghalaya Goods and Service Tax Act in terms of service code tariff 999692 (gambling and betting services including similar online services) for ongoing business of betting in the form of teer in the State of Meghalaya.
(2.) Mr. N Syngkon, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner argued that most of the teer-counters in Garo Hills area are running illegally without any license under the Act of 2018. There is no age restriction for entering into the betting of teer and the distance in terms of Section 6 of the Act of 2018 is also not maintained by the owners of teer-counters. Learned counsel in particular, has made allegation against the respondent No.9-All Garo Hills Archery Association and suggested that lot of teer-counters in Garo Hills are being run on the basis of No Objection Certificate [NOC] given by the said respondent No.9-Association, which is an association for sports and has no authority to issue such NOC or license. In fact, the respondent No.9-Association has been illegally collecting an amount of Rs.350/- per day from each teer-counter in Tura area and is also illegally collecting a sum of Rs.2000/- per month from each counter for being paid to the Taxation Department, for which no receipt is issued to the teer-counters or bookmakers.
(3.) Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that as per reply received by the petitioner through Right to Information [RTI], there are only forty two licensed Book Makers in Tura, Circle-I area and fifty three in Tura Circle-II area. However, to the utmost surprise of the petitioner, there are approximately 250 teer-counters running illegally in Tura area alone. None of them is also having any valid license under the new Act of 2018. None of them is paying GST even though GST has been implemented. It is contended that as per the information received under RTI, the revenue collection for the year 2014-15 for the entire district of West Garo Hills is Rs.24,02,550/- (Rupees twenty four lakhs two thousand five hundred and fifty). But if collection made by respondent No.9- Association from all teer-counters in Tura alone at Rs.250/- (Rupees two hundred fifty) is counted, then also this money in Tura area alone is Rs.85,700/- (Rupees eighty five thousand and seven hundred) per day and Rs.22,75,000/- (Rupees twenty two lakhs and seventy five thousand) per month. Extra monthly tax collected in the name of Taxation Department from each counter is Rs.2000/- (Rupees two thousand) if calculated for a month, would reach the total amount of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees five lakhs) and per annum Rs.60,00,000/- (Rupees sixty lakhs), which shows that a huge loss is being caused to the State exchequer.;
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