The Madras High Court on Thursday admitted that children and young adults these days were addicted to their phones and laptops but refused to direct the authorities concerned to ban all online and offline video games.
The first bench said that there is no doubt children and young adults these days were addicted to their phones and laptops and their world appears to revolve around these gadgets. But the courts cannot pass any such ban order at present, the court added.
The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said it is the policy matter to be looked into by the appropriate governments in the State or the Centre.
The court was disposing a PIL petition from city dvocate E Martin Jayakumar.
The bench said constitutional courts should be slow in entering into such areas and dealing with such matters on the personal sense of morality of the individual complainant or of the judge or judges concerned.
There is no doubt when there is some illegal action or something which is detrimental to larger public interest, constitutional courts intervene; but in the matters of the present kind, especially when elected governments are in place, such matters of policy should be left to the wisdom of those representing the people and having their mandate instead of the Court issuing a diktat.
It is only upon the failure of the executive to act and thereupon, the Court perceiving the matter to be a danger to society, ought to step in.
The bench directed the petitioner to send within four weeks, representations to the Centre through the Ministry of Women and Child Development and to the State government through the department perceived to be most appropriate by the petitioner.
The authorities concerned should give their due consideration to the matter and indicate their stand to the petitioner within eight weeks thereafter, the bench said.
The intricacies of the menace that the petitioner complains of and the larger or long-time effects these online games have on children and young adults have not been gone into in any great detail in the present proceedings, particularly in the absence of any scientific material in such regard, the bench said.
Nothing in this order will prevent further complaints in being carried even to this court if appropriate executive action thereon is not forthcoming, it said.
According to the petitioner, mobile phones have completely taken over people's lives and even children and minors crave for and obtain mobile phones.
Many children and young adults are hooked to online games and have become addicts.
The addiction would be devastating and life-threatening in the sense that it destroys the career-building phase of a young adult and may even lead to suicidal tendencies, the petitioner contended.