The Delhi high court (HC) on Friday dismissed a plea by Mehul Choksi, the uncle of diamantaire Nirav Modi, seeking a pre-release screening of a docu-series “Bad Boy Billionaires” to be aired on Netflix, an over the top (OTT) platform, on September 2.
Justice Navin Chawla said that Choksi, through his counsel, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, is allowed to file a civil suit as what is being alleged as infringement by him is a private right and cannot be granted by the court.
Referring to an earlier order, passed by a division bench of the Delhi HC in another matter, the court refused to grant him a pre-release viewing while reiterating that there are no regulations to control the content on OTT media services.
Choksi had moved the Delhi HC against a docu-series to be aired by Netflix.
“Bad Boy Billionaires” focuses on the alleged fraud committed by many high-profile business tycoons in India. The poster, released by Netflix, shows Choksi’s nephew Modi, among other businessmen, who have been arrested by investigating agencies, according to advocate Aggarwal.
On Friday, Aggarwal, appearing for Choksi, said that he may be given a pre-release screening to see if the docu-series contains any material that might malign his client.
However, countering his submissions, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Netflix, said that there is no regulation in India to control OTT content. He said that only two minutes have been dedicated to Choksi in the episode on Modi in the docu-series.
He submitted that in the two minutes on Choksi, several interviews that he had given to news channels and media outlets have been showcased and all of them are in public domain. He also contended that there is no relevance to Choksi’s court cases in the docu-series.
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, the counsel for the filmmakers, said that Choksi is a fugitive and has taken the citizenship of another country. He said Choksi must be barred from seeking legal relief in India because he took the citizenship of another country.
Krishnan also submitted that though Choksi knew about the docu-series since 2018, he chose not to move court and avail relief for the past two years.
The court dismissed the plea and asked Choksi to approach the appropriate forum.
Choksi, in his petition, had stated that he got to know of the docu-series’ release on August 24, when he saw the trailer following which he was flooded with phone calls.