Guj HC Intervenors: Pokemon Go is revolutionary for health, social interaction and overall well-beingGuj HC Intervenors: Pokemon Go is revolutionary for health, social interaction and overall well-being

Gujarat high court advocates Tirth Bhatt, Nimit Shukla and Sairica Raju acting for four gamers and gaming enthusiasts have asked to intervene in the public interest litigation against augmented virtual reality game Pokemon Go, which is being heard in the Gujarat high court. Bhatt and Shukla are GNLU Gandhinagar alumni.

The PIL asked for a ban on Pokemon Go on, among others, the ground that it hurts religious sentiments by depicting eggs in the premises of places of worship.

The applicants have filed an intervention application on the grounds that they possess enough technical knowledge about various virtual reality games to assist the court in determining that Pokemon Go does not violate religious sentiments. They have also asserted in the application that the PIL against the game is premature as it has not yet been officially launched in India.The intervenors state the following in their application:

No threat to privacy and security

The PIL petitioner has asked for a ban on the privacy and security concerns of users. The intervenors seek to assist the court by pointing out >various other similar games which have been a subject matter of harsh criticism due to extreme violence, disturbing imagery and obscene content, but have nevertheless never been interfered with by any authority.

Also according to the application:

on a bare perusal of the terms and conditions of the game, it becomes amply clear that the game only uses the location information which is required for a smooth gaming experience and does not share the location information with any other unnecessary party.

No violation of religious sentiments

The intervenors have submitted that they are followers of the Jain religion and the Hindu religion and possess screenshots which prove that

an augmented reality game depicting virtual eggs around a place of worship cannot be superimposed and inferred as a violation of religious sentiments

Premature PIL, unreliable evidence

They intervenors also point out that the PIL petitioner’s screenshots of the Pokemon Go eggs in places of worship is unreliable evidence as the game is yet to be officially launched in India – a fact which the petitioner has hid from the court.

since the game has not been launched in India, the screenshots produced by the [PIL petitioner] are highly unreliable and do not have any evidentiary value.

Game revolutionary for health, social interaction, over well-being

In support of the game the intervenors have stated:

the Pokemon Go game is a revolution in the augmented reality gaming industry and is one of its kind. It is submitted that the game being a novel concept, has many advantages and benefits. Just like with every new concept, it has faced some criticism, but at the same time, it is submitted that many people in the gaming community, scientists, doctors etc. have praised the game and its advantages to one’s health, social interaction and overall well-being. It is submitted that the game enshrines a novel concept which breaks the embargo of traditional gaming wherein one is required to be glued to a television or a computer screen or a gaming device. The game in turn revolutionizes traditional gaming by requiring users/ players to compulsorily walk and get out of their house in order to succeed to higher levels in the game.

Bhatt told Legally India that the intervention application was circulated before the Chief Justice’ court and the case was posted for hearing next on 5 October. The PIL petitioner Alay Dave’s advocate Nachiket Dave sought time to file a reply to oppose the intervention application.

Pokemon Go intervention application (PDF)

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Like +2 Object -0 Litigator 24 Sep 16, 13:21
Great to see GNLU alumni doing well in Gujarat High Court. Perhaps GNLU will be one of the few NLUs that actually fulfill the aim of NLUs improving the quality of the Bar, rather than creating hordes of corporate stooges!
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