The GujaratHigh Court on Wednesday issued notice to the developers of the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go in response to a PIL which seeks a ban on it alleging that it hurts religious sentiments.
A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi issued notices to the San Francisco-based game developer Niantic Inc., the Union government and the Gujaratgovernment.
The PIL filed by Alay Dave, saif that in the game, image of eggs appears in places of worship of various religions. “Depiction/showing such eggs to be found in temples and other places of worship is seriously hurting religious sentiments of many worshippers,” it said.
In this location-based game, eggs appear, superimposed, at the places of worship on the map on mobile screen, it said, noting the player has to ‘gather eggs by actually walking near such places to achieve a point.
Objective of the game is to capture ‘Pokemons’ (cartoon figures) which appear on the map on the mobile screen as one moves around, it said.
The PIL contended that eggs are “deliberately found inside the places of worship” and it “strikes at the critical fabric of Hindu religion as well as other religious practices”.
It said that the game can lead to the players getting injured (while walking around) and there is a possibility of it being used as a surveillance tool, posing threat to national security.
“The aspect of individual privacy and security concerns have become alarming in view of the game. Several cases of accidents have been taking place in our country on account of people playing the game. Geo-location facility of Pokemon Go game has assisted criminals in carrying out robbery.
“There is a conspiracy theory that the game is being used as a tool for the US intelligence agency CIA,” it said.
The petitioner wanted the HC to ensure that the developer desisted from depicting eggs at temples and to direct the Centre and the state government to “ban, prevent it from being downloaded and accessed by players”.