In its response filed in Delhi High Court, Netflix has said that Choksi was fully aware of the upcoming docuseries as he was interviewed by the producer of the series in May 2019.
The entertainment giant has also argued that the docuseries will not adversely impact the trial of Choksi. Describing him as an absconder, Netflix has said that the affidavit filed by Choksi in his appeal is neither attested nor apostilled.
Instead, Choksi’s address mentioned in the petition is that of an “entire township”. Citing freedom of speech and expression, Netflix has said that even the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has informed the Delhi High Court that the government does not regulate the digital media.
As reported by ET on August 28, the Ministry while opposing Choksi’s petition had informed the High Court that “freedom of speech and expression is cardinal and should be given full play”.
The release of the series, which was slated for release on September 2, stands stayed by two Courts- Bihar and Hyderabad- on separate pleas file by Sahara Chairman Subrata Roy and B Ramalinga Raju who feature in the series.
Earlier this month, Patna High Court also refused to vacate stay granted by a lower Court in Bihar asking Netflix to approach the lower court for similar relief.
When contacted, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, counsel for Choksi, said “OTT platforms have lust to remain unregulated. Now as they have started questioning fundamental rights guaranteed by constitution of India despite generating huge revenues here ,they ought to be tamed and can’t remain unleashed”.
Aggarwal had earlier argued before the High Court that Choksi is merely an accused and has not been convicted by any Court of law.
Netflix to bring streaming quality back to normal
New Delhi, May 18 (ANI): American media-services provider Netflix is now going back to normal streaming quality. According to Mashable, in March the streaming platform started reducing streaming quality in some markets, including Europe, India and Australia, with an idea to reduce Netflix’s impact on internet speeds. As per FlatpanelsHD (via Android Central), users across Europe are once again getting 4K HDR video quality at up to 15 Mb/s of data transfer.
Aggarwal had argued that Choksi has been declined relief by a single Bench of the High Court “solely on the basis that had it been a movie or a TV programme or the print media, he would have gotten succour from this Court, but because Netflix is an OTT Platform”.
A single Bench of the High Court on August 28 had dismissed Choksi’s plea granting him the liberty to file a civil suit in an appropriate Court.
A division bench of the Delhi High Court headed by the Chief Justice had issued notices on Choksi’s appeal asking Netflix and the Centre to explain as to why Choksi should not be permitted a preview of the series before its release.
Arguing on behalf of Choksi, Aggarwal argued that Choksi is entitled in terms of the Constitution of India, i.e Articles 21 and 14 of the Constitution of India to a presumption of innocence, a free and fair trial, and to be treated at par with other accused persons.
In his appeal Choksi has argued that his name is being “unnecessarily commingled with Nirav Modi”.
Choksi has further argued that he has a right to a reputation, fair trial, and presumption of innocence and trial and conviction by media cannot be permitted. Choksi further averred that he also has a right to reputation and privacy.
Opposing Choksi’s plea, on August 28, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) told the Delhi High Court Friday that it does not regulate the content on over-the-top platforms unless that interferes with national security.
The ministry had made the submission while opposing a plea by diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, who sought a preview of Netflix’s upcoming web series ‘Bad Boy Billionaires: India’ before its release on September 2. Choksi, wanted by Indian agencies in the alleged Rs 13,570 crore fraud caused on Punjab National Bank, is one of the people featured in the docudrama.
The ministry told the court that it was an “unnecessary party” inChoksi’s petition. It said the relevant law did not afford powers in the statute allowing the ministry to interfere with the content on OTT platforms.
Choksi’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal had contended that “excessive publicity prejudices with legal proceedings and will adversely impact Choksi’s trial”.
He had asserted that “the hunger of Netflix to remain unregulated needs to be regulated. Till the time the Union of India regulates OTT platforms, aggrieved individuals have to approach the court”. Aggarwal added that Netflix might be asked to give a preview to the court.
Appearing on behalf of Netflix, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul had opposed Choksi’s plea. He said while Netflix was willing to show the web series to the court, it would not give a preview to Choksi.
Kaul had said: “Pre-censorship has the effect of killing free speech.” Hitting out at Choksi, he said: “It is a proxy litigation and not maintainable.” He said Choksi featured only for two minutes in the forthcoming web series and that it did not have anything which would prejudice Choksi’s trial.
Describing Choksi’s petition as “gross abuse”, Kaul had asked: “Should an absconder be allowed to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court?”