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Bhailalbhai Kanjibhal Patel Vs. Director of State Lotteries and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1982)2GLR280
AppellantBhailalbhai Kanjibhal Patel
RespondentDirector of State Lotteries and anr.
Cases ReferredAttorney General of Nee Zealand v. Lower Hutt Corporation
Excerpt:
.....unless it is shown that the result was manipulated. as pointed out earlier, the objective of rule 25 is to ensure that plastic pouches containing the discs get well shuffled before they are picked up from the drums. ..as pointed out earlier, the purpose and object of rule 25 is to ensure that the plastic pouches containing the doses get well-shuffled. there is no reason to give a restrictive meaning to rules 25 and 31 when they do not expressly prohibit the use of marbles intended to better shuffle the plastic pouches. as against that the director of state lotteries who was in charge of the draw and was very much in the hall is competent to state whether the allegation is well-founded or otherwise. therefore, it would be unsafe to place implicit reliance on the bald statement of..........of the panel as was the practice followed in bombay at the time of the maharashtra state lottery draws. he states that he was informed by the director of lotteries, bombay, and his officers and pickers that this practice of inserting marbles along with the pouches is in vogue in the state of maharashtra since long. now the rule does not prohibit the insertion of marbles. the purpose of rotating the drums for 10 to 15 seconds is to achieve the objective of the rule, namely, proper shuffling of the pouches containing the discs. if this objective is better achieved by the insertion of marbles which help the process of shuffling, it can never be contended that the petitioner's chances of winning the prizes were adversely affected because of the intervention of marbles. lottery is.....
Judgment:

A.M. Ahmadi, J.

1. The petitioner by this petition challenges the result of the bumper draw of Gurjar Laxmi, a Gujarat State Lottery, held at the Tagore Hall, Ahmedabad, on 1st January 1982 on diverse grounds. The draw was held in the presence of a panel comprising the Chairman, a Retired Judge of the Court (Mr. Justice C.V. Rane) and two members, namely. Professor S.R. Bhatt and Mr. Myanger, the Collector of Ahmedabad. By a Government Resolution dated 30th July 1981, rules known as The Gujarat State Lottery Rules, 1981 ('the Rules' for short) were formulated. Rule 25 of the Rules lays down the procedure for draws for each series. It inter alia provides that there will be six drums located in a conspicuous place at one end of the hall where the draw is conducted; that the drums will bear certain identification labels; that each one of the six drums will contain ten discs bearing digits 0 to 9; that each disc will be encased in a plastic pouch, so that its number is not seen; and that after the Chairman rings the bell all the six drums will be operated/ rotated simultaneously for about 10-15 seconds so that the plastic pouches containing the discs get well-shuffled. It may at this stage be realised that the purpose of rotating the drums for 10-15 second is ensure that the plastic pouches containing the discs get well-shuffled. The drums are to be halted after the Chairman rings the bell again and thereafter one pouch from each drum must be picked up and taken to the Chairman who will announce the digit on the disc contained in each pouch. The numbers of the six digits thus drawn have to be arranged on the notice board from left to right in the same sequence in which the drums are arranged. This is in brief the procedure to be followed at the time of each draw.

2. On the basis of this Rule Mr. Pujara for the petitioner urged that even though the rule does not provide for the insertion of marbles in the drums, admittedly marbles were placed along with the pouches in the drums in violation of the?aid rule. In the affidavit-in-reply filed by Shri Biswas, the Director of State Lotteries, it has been pointed out that with a view to ensuring proper shuffling of the digits, glass marbles numbering twenty were added in each drum with the consent of the Chairman and the two members of the panel as was the practice followed in Bombay at the time of the Maharashtra State Lottery draws. He states that he was informed by the Director of Lotteries, Bombay, and his officers and pickers that this practice of inserting marbles along with the pouches is in vogue in the State of Maharashtra since long. Now the rule does not prohibit the insertion of marbles. The purpose of rotating the drums for 10 to 15 seconds is to achieve the objective of the rule, namely, proper shuffling of the pouches containing the discs. If this objective is better achieved by the insertion of marbles which help the process of shuffling, it can never be contended that the petitioner's chances of winning the prizes were adversely affected because of the intervention of marbles. Lottery is essentially a game of chance and those who play it must take the loss in a sportsman-like manner unless it is shown that the result was manipulated. There is, therefore, no merit so far as that first contention is concerned.

3. It was next argued by Mr. Pujara that by the insertion of glass marbles, the procedure for the draw of prize winning tickets was altered in violation of Rule 31. That rule provides that the terms regarding prize amounts and procedure for draw of prize winning tickets shall not be altered in respect of any draw after the commencement of sale of tickets for that draw. In the instant case the sale of tickets commenced with effect from 18th October 1981. The draw was held on 1st January 1982. It was, therefore, contended that the procedure for draw of prize winning tickets was altered by the insertion of marbles in the drums in violation of Rule 31. There is no merit in this contention firstly because Rule 25 does not prohibit the insertion of marbles and secondly because the insertion of marbles does not bring about any substantial change in procedure for draw to nullify the result. As pointed out earlier, the objective of Rule 25 is to ensure that plastic pouches containing the discs get well shuffled before they are picked up from the drums. In order to achieve this objective if glass marbles are inserted in the drums, no exception can be taken, since the procedure for the draw of prize winning tickets remains the same, namely, to pick up one plastic pouch containing a disc from each drum after the drums are sufficiently rotated. There was, therefore, no such change in the procedure which could have affected the result of the draw and, therefore, the second contention based on the alleged infraction of Rule 31 does not appeal to me.

4. My attention was also drawn by the learned Advocate. General to the observations of the Privy Council in Attorney General of Nee Zealand v. Lower Hutt Corporation (1964) A.C. 1469 at pages 1484-85. The New Zealand statute, Section 240, enjoined upon the Corporation to supply pure water to its inhabitants. The Corporation added 'flouride' to the water and that, it was argued, violated Section 240 of the statute. In fact, the addition of flouride was to supply a deficiency found in the water and to provide medicated pure water to the inhabitants. Dealing with the argument. Their Lordships held:

The addition of flouride adds no impurity and the water remains not only water but pure water, and it becomes a greatly improved and still natural water containing no foreign elements. Their Lordships can feel no doubt that power to do this is necessarily implicit in the terms of Section 240 and that the respondent Corporation is thereby empowered to make this addition....

As pointed out earlier, the purpose and object of Rule 25 is to ensure that the plastic pouches containing the doses get well-shuffled. To achieve this objective if glass marbles are added to the drums, it can safely be said that the said procedure was followed with a view to achieving that very objective. There is no reason to give a restrictive meaning to Rules 25 and 31 when they do not expressly prohibit the use of marbles intended to better shuffle the plastic pouches. Therefore, the contention that Rule 31 was breached is without merit.

5. It was next submitted by Mr. Pujara that the drums were not rotated for 10-15 seconds for the smaller prizes as required by Rule 25 and, therefore, an essential condition of that rule was violated. The Director of State Lotteries has in his affidavit-in-reply denied this fact. The Chairman and the Members of the panel have certified that the draw was in accordance with the Rules. Now admittedly the petitioner was not in the hall at the time of the draw and, therefore, he can have no personal knowledge in this behalf. As against that the Director of State Lotteries who was in charge of the draw and was very much in the hall is competent to state whether the allegation is well-founded or otherwise. The certificate issued by the Chairman and Members of the panel lends credence to his statement in the affidavit-in-reply. Therefore, it would be unsafe to place implicit reliance on the bald statement of the petitioner in this behalf, particularly because he has no personal knowledge.

6. The second part of the grievance was that for the bumper draw of Rs. 41 lakhs, the drums were rotated for more than the time prescribed by Rule 25 and, therefore, there was a violation of the said Rule. It is averred in paragraph 4 of the petition that for the bumper prize, the Chairman rang the bell after about 20 seconds, that is to say, the drums were rotated for about 20 seconds. However, this fact is also denied in the affidavit-in-reply of the Director of State Lotteries. The Chairman and the Members of the panel have also certified that the draw was in conformity with the Rules. Therefore, on facts the second limb of the contention cannot be upheld.

7. The prescription of time under Rule 25 is to ensure proper shuffling. The words and figures '10 to 15 seconds' convey flexibility, i.e., the approximate time required for proper shuffling. A couple of seconds less or a couple of seconds more cannot affect the result unless some methodology is employed to bring out earmarked digits from all the drums which is difficult as the discs cannot be seen once they are encased in the pouches. However, there is no such allegation. Therefore, even on the construction of Rule 25 the contention is without merit.

7.1 was lastly contended by Mr. Pujara that members of the public were not allowed to enter the hall and hence Rule 23 was infringed. That rule infer alia provides that the draw shall be held in public and in the presence of a panel specially appointed by the Director to supervise the draw. My attention was invited to an advertisement appearing at page 12 of the Times of India (Ahmedabad Edition) dated 25th December 1981 which shows that the draw was held in the presence of invites and a panel consisting of three members. The respondents have also produced an invitation card along with the affidavit-in-reply which supports the contention that invitations were issued to a selected few to attend the first bumper draw. It has also been stated in the affidavit-in-reply that although 700 invitations were issued. 200 invites were expected to remain present and, therefore, the first few rows in the hall were reserved for them and the rest of the seats were thrown open to the public. Therefore, so long as accommodation was available in the hall members of the public were allowed free entry. In view of the above the allegation that members of the public were debarred from entering the hall at the time of the first bumper draw must be rejected. Besides, even the invites were members of the public and, therefore, it is not possible to uphold the allegation of infringement of Rule 23 of the Lottery Rules.

8. These were the only contentions urged before me by Mr. Pujara, the learned advocate for the petitioner, and as I do not find any merit in any of them, the petition is summarily rejected. Notice discharged. As Mr. Pujara desires to file a Letters Patent Appeal against this order, it is hereby directed that the status quo should be maintained till 18th January 1982.


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