The High Court on Tuesday directed the Union ministry of communications and the Jammu and Kashmir government to respond within four weeks to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking ban on online access to battle games, particularly PUBG, in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal issued notices to ministry of communications GOI, J&K state, secretary to the J&K government (IT and technical education department), universities of Kashmir and Jammu and directors school education Kashmir and Jammu.
While state’s additional advocate general Shah Aamir accepted the notice on behalf of the chief secretary, assistant solicitor general of India TahirShamisi accepted it for the Government of India.
The petitioners have said that parents in J&K have expressed strong resentment against the PUBG (Players Unknown Battle Grounds).
The petitioners said that in Jammu and Kashmir, where laws like Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special Power Act are in force, youth addicted to online video games that show blood and violence along-with free and mindless use of arms creates a wrong precedence and breeds violent thoughts and criminal behavior in the young minds.
Citing opinion of a team of expert doctors from the department of community medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar, and Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences Kashmir on recurrent use of PUBG, the petitioners submitted that the game has adverse effects on human health– sleep disturbances, lack of social interaction, recurring violent thoughts and behavior, anxiety disorders, depression and ill effects on vision and overall health.
“As the game is all about blood and violence, it is very common that the players indulge in unruly and uncivilized behavior while interacting during the game and thereby committing cyber-bullying and other cyber-space related offences,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners said the game could induce delinquent behavior among the children.
“Free and unfettered access of young children to online games such as PUBG is in clear violation of Article 21 of Constitution of India,” petitioners plead. “Blue Whale Game”, which resulted in a chain of suicides all over India, the petitioners plead, was also banned in India on court orders.
“Moreover, the progressive states such as Karnataka and Gujarat have already banned access to PUBG game within their territorial jurisdiction. The game is one of the best-selling of all time (due to gaming addiction), with over fifty million sold across all platforms by June 2018. In addition, the Windows version holds a peak concurrent player count of over three million on Steam, which is an all-time high on the platform. It is also one of the most played video games, with over 400 million players worldwide, which is an astonishing number for any game till date,” said the petitioners Aamir Ali Sheikh, Ehaan Ali Sheikh, Ubead Ahmad Kumar, Shagufta Ashraf, SahilaNisar, who are law students at Kashmir University and were represented by their counsel HananMoumin.