Risky business

The police busted a group of persons — a few of them public servants — while allegedly gambling in a house at Baneshwor in the capital. The cops are also reported to have recovered three packs of cards, dice and more than 1.1 million rupees that the alleged gamblers possessed. Wasting no time, the police are also learnt to have registered cases against them at the Kathmandu District Court. Ironically, save the ignominy of having been dragged into the court of law for not so notorious an offence, the accused will not have to rot behind the bars, provided they pay the nominal fine prescribed by the law.

What strikes as unusual is the police raid that was carried out in a private residence. As facts stand, their offence appears frightening more because of the gambling amount in question. Had the amount been less, the offence perhaps would have appeared permissible. It is common in Nepali households to play cards, especially during holidays, as a form of pastime. Granted that, playing cards has often taken an ugly turn when an astronomical amount of money is involved. However, the law needs to clearly stipulate where the dividing line exists between permissible card-play and punishable card-play. If the law regards it as a serious offence, the punishment must be prescribed accordingly. The lack of clarity in legal provisions makes it easier for law-enforcement officers to misuse their powers.