Patna HC refused to vacate stay on Netflix documentary, directing the lower court to pass an order within two weeks

Patna HC
The Financial Express

Synopsis: Netflix requested a stay vacation, ordered by Araria court in Bihar after restricting the streaming service from using the businessman Subrata Roy’s name in Bad Boy Billionaires.

Bad boy Billionaires Netflix
Bar and Bench

The Patna High Court on Friday, refused to vacate the order passed by a sub-judge in Araria staying the airing of the documentary Bad Boy Billionaires, directing instead that Netflix canvass its submissions before the lower court (Netflix India v. Sahara and Ors).

Justice Birendra Kumar, asked ‘Netflix,’ the appellant before him, to approach the trial judge who had directed to pass a reasoned order under the law within two weeks of the date of receipt/production of a copy of this order. In the petition filed by Netflix India, the Bench has issued a notice challenging the interim stay order.

For its allegedly derogatory depiction of Chairman Subrata Roy, the lower court in Araria had earlier granted ad interim relief in favour of Sahara India, which requested an injunction on the airing of the Netflix series.

Netflix argued before the High Court that it was not given a chance to raise its grievances during the lower court hearings because it was not issued the notice.

It was further argued that, based on a bald statement, Sahara was able to secure a stay in its favour. Another point was that there was no opportunity for the lower court to review the report, and it came to a prima facie conclusion that the plaintiff deserved interim relief.

The High Court, after hearing the counsel, observed that the relief given by the sub-judge was in compliance with Order 39 Rule 3, in which the court could grant an ad interim injunction without giving notice to the opposite party. However, the Court observed that the order under review showed that the matter had been adjourned for 02.12.2020, while Rule 3-A CPC specifies that, under such cases, if an ad interim injunction had been passed without warning to the other side, the application could be dismissed within thirty days of the date on which the injunction was granted.

Netflix was then directed by the court to make its submissions to the sub-judge, before which the case was still pending.

The High Court listed the matter with these directions for October 19.

Mehul Choksi, a fugitive billionaire, had moved the Delhi High Court earlier in August seeking an injunction against Bad Boy Billionaires, a series that chronicles the lives of Indian businessmen who have fallen foul of the law. Though the Delhi High Court initially dismissed the petition, a Division Bench later issued notice in the appeal.

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