Whether rummy is played for stakes or not, if the game is considered to be a game of chance, it would be considered a gambling game and would therefore be illegal in India. If the game is considered a game of skill, it will hold a different legal status.
There had been a number of petitions regarding the legality of card games that had been brought to the court by clubs and online operations that offer both rummy and other card games. In 2012, rummy being played for money was ruled as illegal since the Madras High Court declared rummy that is played for stakes as a gambling game.
In Andhra Pradesh and in Karnataka, the high courts had rules that rummy was not considered to be a gambling game. Since there hae been different legal opinions, the case was taken to a higher court with Judge S A Bobde and Judge Madan B Lokur sitting on the bench.
Instead of ruling on the issue, the court requested that the Mahalakshmi Cultural Association withdraw its petition. The Mahalakshmi Cultural Association petitioned the court after police had begun to prosecute the club and its members.
The judge explained that while the Mahalakshmi club was prosecuted for offering card games, it was not prosecuted for rummy games, but for another card game that included betting. In addition to this, the club received an acquittal in the trial court.
Rather than ruling on the legality of rummy, the judges suggested that Advocate Sunil Fernandes, Mahalakshmi’s counsel, should withdraw the petition since the club he was representing had not been prosecuted for the game in question.