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Friday, September 18, 2020

Delhi HC notice to Centre, Netflix over Mehul Choksi plea on docu-series

A division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought a response from the Centre and Netflix and fixed the matter for next hearing on September 23.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | September 8, 2020 5:49:55 am
On August 28, a single-judge bench of the High Court had declined to entertain Choksi’s petition and ruled that the allegations pertained to infringement of his private right and he may file a civil suit in the matter. (File)

THE DELHI High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre and to Netflix in an appeal filed by Mehul Choksi, an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, against the decision of a single-judge bench which declined to entertain his plea for pre-screening of the docu-series Bad Boy Billionaires. Choksi is also seeking “release with deletions” of the documentary.

A division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought a response from the Centre and Netflix and fixed the matter for next hearing on September 23. However, no interim order was passed in favour of Choksi’s plea for postponing the release of the docu-series.

The petition filed through advocate Naman Joshi was argued by advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who argued that Choksi is facing trial and the proceedings therein would be prejudiced in case he is shown in bad light by the documentary makers. The “investigative documentary” contains two minutes of content about Choksi, and the writ petition is maintainable as his right under Article 21 is breached, submitted Aggarwal.

The court was informed that two cases and other proceedings are pending against Choksi before different courts and chargesheets have been filed in some of them. In at least one of the cases, he is an undertrial, the court was told.

During the hearing, counsel representing Netflix opposed an interim order in the matter. The court, however, responded that it was not passing any such order.

On August 28, a single-judge bench of the High Court had declined to entertain Choksi’s petition and ruled that the allegations pertained to infringement of his private right and he may file a civil suit in the matter.

Bad Boy Billionaires claims to “explore the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most famous tycoons”. Scheduled to be released on September 2, the docu-series has been caught in a legal tussle since its announcement and two court orders — in Bihar and Hyderabad — have compelled Netflix to put it on hold.

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