Bad Boy Billionaires: Telengana HC to watch Ramalinga Raju episode before greenlighting Netflix release
On 2 September, a civil court in Hyderabad had issued an interim stay restraining Netflix from airing Bad Boy Billionaires on a petition filed by Ramalingam Raju, convicted in Satyam Computers scandal.
Netflix is nowhere near relief in the Bad Boy Billionaires case. A two-judge bench of the Telangana High Court said it will watch an episode of the show to determine if it would permit the streaming service to air the show.
The episode in question is the one based on former Satyam Computers Services Limited Chairman B Ramalinga Raju. The next hearing in the case is on 25 September, reports News18.
On 2 September, a civil court in Hyderabad had issued an interim stay restraining Netflix from airing the web series on a petition filed by Raju, who was convicted in the multi-crore accounting scandal of Satyam Computers. He alleged that the docuseries would infringe his rights of fair- trial and privacy besides defaming and tarnishing his image across nations.
Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing Netflix, argued Bad Boy Billionaires is based on material available in public domain and said that stalling the release by watching the trailer is "an attack on the freedom of expression of the writers & filmmakers." He further said the documentary would not have an impact on Raju's case as he had already been convicted, reports The New Indian Express.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen, has been given access to watch the episode. When it suggested if Raju's counsel should also be given access to it, Netflix countered saying "pre-release approval" would set a "bad precedent."
Meanwhile, the Patna High Court refused to vacate a stay granted by a local court in Bihar on the release of the docu-style show on Friday.
The court also asked Netflix’s side to approach a lower court which has to decide the injunction moved by Sahara India within two weeks of filing, reported Economic Times.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar assisted by advocate Amit Shrivastava, appealing for Netflix, had sought a vacation for the stay ordered by Araria court in Bihar last month. But the high court made it clear that Netflix has to approach the local court for final disposal in the matter.
This comes after the court in Araria had restrained Netflix from using the name of businessman Subrata Roy in their upcoming web series Bad Boy Billionaires. Following this order, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of Netflix had moved the Supreme Court. However, the apex court had dismissed the plea. Senior advocate Vikas Singh appeared for Sahara India and opposed Netflix’s petition. He said as the order was passed by a civil judge, an appeal should be made before a district judge and not before any high court or the apex court.
The SC bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde had granted liberty to Netflix to approach the Patna High Court against the order. Now the High Court has also asked the streaming service to appeal in a local court.
Bad Boy Billionaires was initially scheduled to release on 2 September. According to the promos, the show featured Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy, Mehul Choksi and Byrraju Ramalinga Raju.
Choksi had also filed a plea in the Delhi HC seeking pre-screening of the documentary. The court had later dismissed his plea.
Netflix’s description for the show ran as: “This investigative docuseries explores the greed, fraud, and corruption that built up — and ultimately brought down — India’s most infamous tycoons.”
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