HC issues notice to GoI, State Govt
A fresh Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the High Court seeking permanent ban on access to online battle royal games.
The petition has been filed under section 103 of the Constitution of Jammu Kashmir read with Article 226 of the Constitution of India and seeks ban on online battle royal games, particularly Players Unknown Battle Grounds (PUBG) in Jammu Kashmir.
In this regard, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal issued notice to Government of India (GoI) through Secretary Ministry of Communications, Chief Secretary J&K, Secretary to Government, Information Technology and Technical Education department, Universities of Jammu and Kashmir through Chancellors, and Director School Education Kashmir J&K through Directorate of School Education.
The court directed respondents to file their response by April 29, 2019.
PUBG is an online royal battle game which is available in India since 2017.
The petition states that the game has received tremendous response in J&K from teenagers and other tech-savvy youth who instantly made it a routine to spend hours on the online game.
“The craze went to such an extent that a restaurant on the theme of PUBG game sprang up in the vicinity of Srinagar city,” it states.
The petition mentions that many school associations of parents expressed strong discontentment regarding their wards spending unusually excessive time while playing the PUBG game and not paying proper attention toward their meals and studies.
Giving reference of one of the reported cases which came to fore on January 2019 wherein a person complained of severe headache and was advised by a doctor to discard playing the game, suggesting the gravity of the situation.
It says that the J&K Students Association has also written a letter to the Governor of J&K seeking ban on PUBG game because of its ill effects on the studies of students.
In their letter, the association has explicitly blamed PUBG for the poor results in the recently-conducted 10th and 12th standard exams.
It also says that this game has taken place of drugs in the society as the students and youth seem to be addicted to the game.
The petitioners have filed the petition on the grounds that Jammu Kashmir is a militancy-affected area and implementation of laws like Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Power Act are a testimony to this assertion.
“In such docile and fragile conditions, the indulgence of youth in such online video games which are based on blood and violence along with free and mindless use of arms including highly sophisticated armour and artillery creates a wrong precedence and breeds violent thoughts and criminal behaviour in young minds,” the petitioners have said.
The petition says the recurrent use of online game such as PUBG can lead to gaming disorder and initiation of immoral conduct in its players.
It says PUBG is a modern pinnacle of technological innovation and one of its features allows the player to interact with each other in the game chat feature.
The petition says that the game is all about blood and violence, it is common that the players indulge in unruly and uncivilized behaviour while interacting during the game and thereby committing cyber-bullying and other cyber-space related offences.
The petitioners submitted that the free and unfettered access of young children to online games like PUBG is in clear violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India guaranteeing the Right to Life to the citizens.
The petitioners have prayed that the respondents be directed to ban online access to PUBG game over routers and other internet access devices installed within the premises of the universities, higher secondary schools, high schools and primary schools of the three divisions of the State.