Delhi HC adjourns to Nov 20 hearing on Mehul Choksi’s plea against Netflix documentary

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday listed on November 20 hearing on a petition filed by businessman and diamantaire Mehul Choksi, who is an accused in the PNB scam case, against Netflix’s documentary titled “Bad Boy Billionaires”.

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said that it will hear the matter on November 20. It was scheduled for hearing on November 6 but one of the lawyers today sought adjournment saying that he is not available on that day.

The court was hearing Choksi’s petition against the order of a single-judge bench dismissing his plea seeking pre-screening of the documentary.

In the last hearing Choksi’s advocate Vijay Aggarwal had asked if Netflix is permitted to violate an individual’s fundamental rights. Aggarwal had also asked whether Netflix’s claim to remain unregulated and being beyond the jurisdiction of writ courts in India is legal.

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Appearing for Choksi, advocates Aggarwal, Mudit Jain and Ashul Agarwal argued that it is a travesty of justice that a person had approached the writ court for protection of his fundamental rights to a fair investigation, which is a facet under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, however, he was relegated to avail his remedies before the civil court.

Senior advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul and Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Netflix, had argued that the appellant is not entitled to any relief, as he is not a Citizen of India, as he has forsaken his citizenship, and therefore, not entitled to the protection of any fundamental right.

Earlier Choksi’s plea seeking the pre-screening of the documentary was dismissed by a single-judge bench of Justice Naveen Chawla, who observed that there are no regulations to control the content on the over-the-top (OTT) media service, and asked him to approach the appropriate forum or file a civil suit in the matter.

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The documentary is said to be based on the rise and fall of India’s most infamous billionaires including Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi other business tycoons accused in several alleged scams.

In his plea filed before the single-judge bench, Choksi had sought directions to the Central government to take steps to regulate Netflix Inc and Netflix Entertainment Service India LLP insofar as the release of content having the possibly prejudicial effect on pending investigations and trials is concerned. 

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