The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition by lawyers for the fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi seeking the postponement of the release date of the documentary series Bad Boy Billionaires. MediaNama obtained a copy of the petition, which was first reported by Hindustan Times. A representative for Mehul Choksi in court confirmed the development to MediaNama. Netflix declined to comment.
The court cited judgements in two cases (Nikhil Bhalla v. Union of India and Justice for Rights Foundation v. Union of India), in which it was held that complaints on OTT platforms have to go to the government, and that “we [the court] see no reason to issue any mandamus for bringing into place any guidelines or statutory regulation for the said purpose.”
Petition sought pre-screening
Choksi, who fled India for Antigua and Barbuda after his alleged involvement in the Punjab National Bank fraud case emerged, asked in the petition that Netflix show first be screened to the court before its upcoming release on Wednesday. The petition extensively cited cases, news articles, and a book excerpt concerning court cases and other information about the PNB fraud case.
In addition to a screening, it asked that the government put in place regulatory mechanisms to restrain OTT platforms from putting out “content having possibly prejudicial effect on pending investigations and trials”. The petition cited a precedent where the film Batla House was edited after individuals accused in the eponymous Batla House encounter case successfully argued that the film may affect their trial. The court seems to have rejected these arguments. We will update this post with the link to the judgement when it is released on the Delhi High Court’s website.