The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, the state Government and Niantic Inc, the San Francisco-based developer of controversial mobile phone game Pokemon Go, following a petition seeking a ban on the game in the country.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice V.M. Pancholi issued the notices after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) claimed that the use of the game hurt religious sentiments and sought a ban on it and its formal launch in India.
Petitioner Ajay Dave stated that the game hurts the religious sentiments of Hindus and Jains and “this is my key contention”, advocate Nachiketa Dave, who argued the PIL, said.
The petitioner contended that the game sees players entering various places of worship, including temples and derasars (Jain temples), to score points.
“Those who succeed are rewarded with obnoxious eggs. Offering eggs to people in temples and derasars, even in the virtual world, is highly objectionable and not a done thing,” advocate Dave said.
He went on: “Religions propagate non-violence and vegetarianism while eggs are non-vegetarian food. We cannot stand this and it is blasphemous to carry non-vegetarian food inside a place of worship of Hindus and Jains.”
The petitioner also sought directions to the state and central governments to stop the formal launch of the game in India.
“It also compromises safety of the player and lots of accidents have taken place due to players getting engrossed in playing this game, other than privacy and security issues,” Dave said.
“Though it has not been launched in India officially, people in India are still playing it.”
The court sent an emailed notice to the San Francisco-based developer of the game and the matter is likely to come up for hearing next week.
The controversial game has been banned in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, over religious and safety concerns, with its developers Niantic and Nintendo being sued across the US.