Madhya Pradesh High Court Quashes PIL Against Celebrity Endorsements of Online Gaming

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation in the case of Vinod Kumar Dwivedi v. Shahrukh Khan and Ors., which sought directions to restrain celebrity endorsements of online gaming.

The petitioner submitted that the country’s youth is persuaded to participate in online gaming when celebrities and sportspersons endorse such games. Online games offering opportunities to earn ‘quick money’ are causing addiction, monetary loss, and a loss of prospects for the young generation.

Hence, the PIL requested the Court to restrain celebrities from endorsing online games and enact a penal law to control online games in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

The Court dismissed the PIL, pointing out that online gaming has not been banned in India and that it was a matter of self-restriction. Further, the Court cited Radhey Shyam v. Chhabi Nath, reported in (2015) 5 SCC 423, to reiterate that a writ could not be issued against a private person not discharging any public duty.

Here, the celebrities endorsed products as part of their profession to earn money. In addition, the enactment of the law was within the domain of Parliament and the legislature, and the Court could not direct the legislature to enact a law.

Finally, the writ suffered from the non-joinder of necessary parties since the petitioner failed to implead the concerned owners or operators of online gaming platforms. Therefore, directions could not be issued against them.