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Karnataka High Court halts horse racing events at Bengaluru Turf Club

The Karnataka High Court, led by Chief Justice N.V. Anjaria and Justice K.V. Arvind, has temporarily banned horse racing at Bengaluru Turf Club. This decision reverses a previous single-member bench ruling due to concerns over illegal activities involving bookies. 

Karnataka High Court halts horse racing events at Bengaluru Turf Club vkp
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First Published Jun 22, 2024, 1:16 PM IST

Karnataka High Court, through a division bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Anjaria and Justice K.V. Arvind, has issued an order temporarily banning horse racing tournaments at the Bengaluru Turf Club. This decision overturned a previous ruling by a single-member bench that had granted permission for the races to proceed.

The state government, represented by Advocate General K. Sasikiran Shetty, presented arguments highlighting concerns over illegal activities allegedly conducted by bookies on the premises of the Bangalore Turf Club. During a recent police raid on January 12, authorities uncovered evidence leading to the registration of criminal cases against 27 individuals involved in these illicit activities.

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The division bench conducted an extensive hearing on the matter, which lasted from noon until 7 pm on Friday, before deciding to temporarily halt all horse racing events pending further proceedings.

What was the case?

Bengaluru Turf Club submitted a petition to the state government on March 21, 2024, requesting permission to conduct on-course and off-course horse racing and betting activities at Bengaluru Turf Club from April to August 2024. However, the government refused permission to organize the horse racing event. Subsequently, BTC and others applied to the High Court. On May 21 and 23, the High Court gave the state government until June 6 to review the applications and make a decision.

Following this deadline, the state government reviewed BTC's request and issued an order on June 6 denying permission to organize the horse race, citing various irregularities including tax evasion and illegal betting. The petitioners then filed an amended petition challenging this order. 

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Bengaluru Turf Club Limited (BTC), Karnataka Trainers Associations, Karnataka Race Horse Owners Association, Karnataka Jockeys Association, and others filed an application in the High Court challenging the state government's order issued on June 6, 2024, which denied permission to organize horse races. 

The petitions were heard by a single-member bench of High Court Justice Krishnakumar, who issued an interim order allowing horse racing to be organized in March 2024. This was contingent upon the license granted by the government for conducting on-course and off-course horse racing and betting activities. The current blockage of horse racing stems from these proceedings.

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