E. Martin Jayakumar, the petitioner, had filed a writ of Mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution, requesting that the Court prohibit all online and offline video games. He further requested that the Court implement an appropriate mechanism to maintain track of devices used for online classes that were not utilised to play games through this petition. The Petitioner believes that the country's young are falling prey to internet businesses attempting to profit from the addictive nature of these online games.
In view of the pandemic scenario, the Petitioner claimed before the Court that mobile phones had fully taken over our lives. With the introduction of online classes and work from home opportunities, electronic devices such as laptops and cellphones have become indispensable. The shutdown of schools during the lockdown meant that students spent a substantial amount of time idling. This had only increased the likelihood of children being addicted to video games, both online and offline. Ms Selvi George, standing on behalf of the Petitioner, made a frequent comment in front of the Court, namely that of a family gathering where no one was interested in anything but their phone.
Observation of the Court:
Constitutional Courts could take cognizance of situations involving a serious threat to the public or any criminal activity. After carefully reviewing the circumstances of the case, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy concluded that the problem raised in this case was more of a question of personal morality than of law. The Court noted that, while there may be a considerable negative impact on the public in this case, no scientific proof supporting the Petitioner's concerns was presented to the Court. According to the honourable justices, this issue was more about policy decisions to be made by the elected government rather than one requiring a court's approval. The Court could only intervene if the Executive failed to carry out its responsibilities. At this point, it was up to the Court to tell the Petitioner how to approach the Executive and get a well-thought-out policy conclusion. The Court also avoided overstepping its bounds because there was an elected government in existence.
The Honorable Court dismissed the petition, saying that the concerns in this case were mostly moral and ethical in nature. The Court did, however, allow the Petitioner to approach the Government through suitable channels, such as the Ministry of Women and Child Development or any other relevant ministry. The Court further stated that if no appropriate action was taken after addressing the Executive, the courts may intervene for the public's benefit.