This article is written by Shally Yadav, a first-year law student of Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.
Title of case: Subhash Kumar Manwani Vs. State of M.P. and others
Citation: AIR 2000 MP 109
Court: Madhya Pradesh High Court
Bench: D Dharmadhikari and U Shukla.
Appellant: Subhash Kumar Manwani
Respondent: State of M.P. and others
Brief Facts of the case:-
- Respondent no. 3 Valbhavshali Raffle Committee organized a lottery for raising funds for respondent no. 2 Indore Table Tennis trust and respondent no. 4 Chandra Agencies, New Delhi acted as agent of respondent no. 3 in organizing the lottery and in selling the tickets.
- The Appellant won the lottery but was not given the prize money.
- It is contended on behalf of the Appellant that as the lottery was held with due permission of the State Government, the same was not illegal and there was no Illegal contract which could be refused to be enforced by the Civil Court.
- The respondent No. 4 who acted as agent for organising the lottery and selling tickets remained ex-parte and did not appeared in this Court.
- Whether lottery agreements will come under Section 30 of the Indian Contract Act, agreements by way of wager.
Argument of the Appellant:
- It is contended on behalf, of the plaintiff that as the lottery was held with due permission of the State Government, the same was not illegal and there was no Illegal contract which could be refused to be enforced by the Civil Court.
- In the case of Shekharchand Jain v. Ramnarayan Gend, it was a State lottery and the suit founded on a ticket sold in the lottery was dismissed holding that even though a State lottery is not illegal, it is nonetheless “in the nature of wager” and, therefore, a person who wins a lottery cannot sue for recovery of the prize money. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the Division Bench in the case of Shekharchand (supra) relied on an old decision of the High Court of Bombay of the year 1917. It is submitted that now the lotteries are organized by the State and private parties with permission of the State under State and Central enactment and refusal to decree such suits for recovery of prize money on a lottery ticket was not justified in law. Reference is made to M.P. Lottery (Niyantran Tatha Kar) Adhiniyam, 1973.
Argument of the Respondents:
- The respondent contended that promise to pay prize in a lottery is in the nature of an agreement by way of wager which is void and cannot be enforced by civil suit due to prohibition contained in Section 30 of the Contract Act.
The learned Judge states that neither the provisions of the State nor the Central Act would take out the nature of the agreement for payment of prize money on a lottery ticket from the category of it being a “wagering contract” which the civil Court has to declare as void under the provisions of Section 30 of the Contract Act.
In the case M/s. B.R. Enterprises v. State of U.P. occasion arose before the Supreme Court to consider whether the lottery is a trade or business constitutionally recognized and protected under Article 19′(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution or it is a pure gambling or a game of chance. The Supreme Court held that even the State sponsored lotteries have the same element of chance with no skill involved in it and refused to recognize it as a trade or profession.
The Judge finds that the learned trial Judge was fully justified in refusing to grant any relief to the plaintiff on the basis of his claim for recovery of prize money on the lottery ticket sold to him. Consequently, the appeal is dismissed, but without any order as to costs.