RWITC welcomes apex court remark

Published: Dec 14, 2019, 20:14 IST | Prakash Gosavi |

The Mumbai high court order had held Dream 11 to be a game of skill, approving the company's manner of payment of Good & Services Tax (GST)

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

JUSTICE Rohinton Nariman's oral observation that there cannot be any doubt that fantasy sports is a game of skill has delighted the Indian racing world. The comment was made in the apex court on Friday when a division bench, comprising Justice Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed special leave petition filed by Gurdeep Singh Sachar, dept of revenue of union govt and Maharashtra state against a Mumbai high court order of April 30, 2019.

The Mumbai high court order had held Dream 11 to be a game of skill, approving the company's manner of payment of Good & Services Tax (GST), a battle the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) and other members of the TAI (Turf Authority of India) have been fighting with their dwindling resources.

The RWITC, technically, had no skin in the game in a battle between the Dream 11 on one side and G S Sachar & the revenue authorities on the other, but Sachar had also requested a review of the landmark decision by justice Kuldeep Singh of the supreme court, in the K R Lakshmanan vs the govt of Tamil Nadu (1996) case, which had ruled that horse racing is a game of skill and not a game of chance, a premise on which the RWITC has been harping when pleading with the GST authorities.

The chairman of the RWITC, Zavaray Poonawalla, termed this as a "good development", and expressed hope that the sport of horse racing would benefit from this position.

He, however, added, "We will continue with our present efforts where we are trying to convince the authorities that they should charge GST on the commission we earn, and not on the turnover."

Zavaray Poonawalla also pointed out that the apex court's remark in the Dream 11 case on the need to differentiate between games of skill and games of chance is a welcome reminder to our society at large.

"The general public, unfortunately, equates racing with gambling. We hope this situation will slowly but surely change."

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