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Hari Singh Vs. Jadu Nandan Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1904)ILR31Cal542
AppellantHari Singh
RespondentJadu Nandan Singh
Cases ReferredEmpress v. Narottamdas Motiram
Excerpt:
gambling - sham horse-racing machine--instrument of gaming--compound of house--public place--gambling act (bengal act ii of 1867). - .....an occasion for betting, it becomes gaming and the race-horses probably become instruments of gaming. apart from legislation rain-gambling is gaming, if a complete apparatus is used for the purpose, otherwise it is not. this distinction seems to me to be plain and easy of application. it is impossible to attach legal meanings to common words which are in complete accordance with their common use, when that use is indefinite, especially when the word is generally used to express disapprobation or the reverse. but i believe that the meaning i propose to attach to the term gaming to be as near to its popular use as it is possible to go.
Judgment:

Stephen, J.

1. The judgment just delivered, sufficiently supports the conclusion at which this Court has arrived. But I feel myself bound to express doubts, which I feel, as to the soundness of the judgment in the case of Queen-Empress v. Narottamdas Motiram (1889) I.L.R. 13 Bom. 681, to which we have referred. The matter is of some importance because for reasons we have indicated the English law on the subject of gaming does not seem to be applicable to India, and the Bombay case is, I believe, the only one decided' in India, which deals with the meaning of gaming. The Gaming Act is concerned only with gaming, and has nothing to do with betting or wagering, which may be considered synonymous terms. What is the difference between gaming and betting? The Bombay case apparently regards gaming as betting on the result of a game, which is also a contest. The distinction between the two things is based on the scientific or historical meanings of gaming as given in standard works, to which the very high authority of Murray's Dictionary may now be added. But it seems to me to raise difficult questions as to the meaning of 'game' or 'contest,' which can only be decided by a highly artificial use of language. I believe that a more satisfactory distinction, that is one that is plainer and more easy of application, is to be found by considering the popular rather than the scientific use of the word. I suggest that the difference between gaming and betting depends on the nature of the event, on which the bet is made. If the event is brought about solely for the purpose of being betted about, betting on it is gaming, otherwise it is not. Ordinary marine insurance is merely betting against the happening of certain events. In practice it is very difficult to distinguish it, in a legal point of view, from betting on the result of a cricket match or horse-race. A certain kind of marine insurance is in fact a well-known form of what is popularly described as gambling. On the other hand dicing, to take an old fashioned example, is a wholly insignificant act, if it is not done for the purpose of betting on the result. If I may descend to modern examples of those games of cards, to whose names we are accustomed in legal literature, I should say that playing at poker where stakes are essential, is gaming, and that playing at bridge, where stakes, though usual, are not essential, is not. If horse racing degenerates into nothing, but an occasion for betting, it becomes gaming and the race-horses probably become instruments of gaming. Apart from legislation rain-gambling is gaming, if a complete apparatus is used for the purpose, otherwise it is not. This distinction seems to me to be plain and easy of application. It is impossible to attach legal meanings to common words which are in complete accordance with their common use, when that use is indefinite, especially when the word is generally used to express disapprobation or the reverse. But I believe that the meaning I propose to attach to the term gaming to be as near to its popular use as it is possible to go.


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