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SC dismisses Netflix petition against Sahara
The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the SLP filed by Netflix, challenging the order passed by a civil court in Araria, Bihar, restraining Netflix from releasing "Bad Boys Billionaires" documentary series.
The civil court order restricts Netflix and its producers, directors, employees, officers and associates etc. from releasing, transmitting, distributing, exhibiting, performing or communicating to the public, the promo and the documentary series "Bad Boy Billionaires" by any means or technology.
A Sahara Group entity and a Sector Manager of Sahara in Bihar had filed an injunction suit for restraining Netflix from releasing the said series against their Chairman and business entities, which was not only defamatory but also offending to the privacy and trademarks of their company.
Sahara has also filed a criminal complaint against Netflix and its directors Abhishek Nag, Reginald Shawn Thompson, Neha Sinha and the producers Nick Read, Reva Sharma and Iqbal Kidwai, for committing various criminal offences under the Information Technology Act 2000, the Indian Penal Code and the Trademarks Act.
The Supreme Court declined to entertain Netflix challenging the Bihar trial court order restraining it from using the name of Subrata Roy, in its upcoming web series "Bad Boy Billionaires" slated for release in India on Wednesday.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde though granted the OTT platform the liberty to move the Patna High Court challenging the order passed by the Araria trial court. The top court, declining to hear the appeal, said: "We are sorry."
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Sahara India, opposed the plea filed by Netflix. Singh contended before the bench that the order was passed by a civil judge and if there were to be an appeal, then it would have to be filed before the district judge and not before the High Court or the apex court. The Magistrate had taken cognizance of the offences on complaints filed and recorded evidence of witnesses. Summons may be issued to the officials of Netflix on the said complaint.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Netflix, contended before the bench that the apex court should transfer to itself all the petitions in connection with the web series, which are pending in various high courts. The top court issued notice on the separate petition filed by Netflix seeking transfer of the matters pending before different high courts.