The cases against Gondal have been filed by individuals reportedly claiming defamation, loss of revenue, and hurting of religious sentiments. One person said that rummy is played during Diwali by Hindus, and Gondal’s sentiment to ban such online gambling games is against the Hindu religion. Others have said that Gondal’s remarks have brought them social stigma.
Asked for comment, Gondal told Gadgets 360 in an emailed statement: “It is unfortunate to see how the police and legal system is being misused to harass someone who is exercising his right to free speech. All I have been talking about are the ill effects of Real Money Gaming/ Gambling on society and how the government should view the same. Seems like the cartels in the business are trying their best to harass & intimidate me. Given many state governments have banned these games, I hope eventually this evil in society will end.”
He also added a note from his lawyers that further stated: “At the outset, our Client denies all singular statements, averments, contentions, allegations, and insinuations pertaining to defamation or otherwise as mentioned in the complaint in toto and states that complaint is absolutely false, concocted and arbitrary in nature.”
“Our Client repeats and reiterates that it is the moral and legal duty of every citizen of India to voice out freely and without any fear their opinions, expressions and views on all social aspects as guaranteed by our Indian Constitution.”
The lawyer’s note also asked for virtual attendance rather than physical presence, owing to the current COVID-19 situation, and requested that Gondal be allowed to send all documents and explanations either online or via courier instead.
Aside from the summons, Gondal tweeted that he has received 11 legal notices over his statements as well. The issue kicked off after Gondal wrote an article for Medianama in January, titled In The End, The House Always Wins: The State Of Real Money Gaming In India.
In the article, and later on Twitter, Gondal has reiterated that fantasy sport, betting on sports, and online games such as rummy, that are using real money, are gambling and should be banned. Although there are rules against online gambling, these companies are operating under laws that permit games of skill in India. Indian laws differentiate between games of skill and games of chance.