The Delhi High Court on Monday sought replies from the Centre and video streaming platform Netflix to a plea filed by fugitive entrepreneur Mehul Choksi, challenging the dismissal of his earlier petition where he had sought pre-release viewing of web series Bad Boy Billionaires, PTI reported.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the central government and Netflix to respond by September 23.
Choksi’s lawyer, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, informed the court that the 61-year-old was only seeking that the matter be remanded back to the judge, who had denied any relief to Choksi and asked him to file a civil suit instead. The fresh plea said the dismissal of the writ petition on the basis of exercising his “private right” was “erroneous”, Bar and Bench reported.
On August 28, a single-judge bench had dismissed Choksi’s plea saying it was not maintainable and asked him to file a civil suit as his claims of infringement were his private right.
During the August 26 hearing, Aggarwal had argued that the series can affect the ongoing investigation against the entrepreneur and his nephew Nirav Modi in a fraud case. To this effect, Choksi sought directions to restrain Netflix from releasing the episode. Both Choksi and Modi are accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.
Netflix has been promoting the show as a docuseries, which explores “the greed, fraud and corruption” that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, Sahara Group Chairperson Subrata Roy, Choksi, Modi and former Satyam Computer Services chairperson B Ramalinga Raju.
Netflix’s counsel, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, had argued that the platform was open to showing the series to the High Court, but not Choksi. Kaul further said that Modi’s story was featured for a total of two minutes in the show, and Choksi was merely mentioned in it.
Apart from Choksi, Roy and Raju had also moved filed petitions against Netflix. Roy moved a Bihar court, which restrained the streaming platform from using his name. A Hyderabad civil court on September 1 barred Netflix from releasing the web series after Raju said it would invade his privacy in an unlawful manner.
On September 2, Netflix moved the Supreme Court against the Bihar court’s order. However, it was dismissed by the court.