A single-judge bench of Justice BM Shyam Prasad of the Karnataka High Court on Friday restrained streaming platform Netflix from telecasting the first episode of the documentary series 'Crime Stories, India Detective', reports Livelaw. In an interim order, the court directed Netflix to pause streaming, broadcasting, telecasting or making available the episode titled 'A murdered mother'. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Sridhar Rao S, who is undergoing trial for offences under Sections 302 and 307, 212, 201 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The episode allegedly contains visuals of the investigation pertaining to the FIR against Rao. He claimed that the episode would severely prejudice his right to a free and fair trial.
"The respondent No.2 has produced a series titled "Crime Stories. India Detective" which is available as content on the online platform Netflix offered by respondent No.1. The first episode in the series is titled "A Murdered Mother" and is content containing the visuals of the investigation by the Police in the FIR against the petitioner and another," said Advocate Ayantika Mondal, appearing for the petitioner.
"This content prejudices the petitioner's defence as it contains interviews recorded during the investigation and video recording of a purported confession. The petitioner's right to a free and fair trial is severely prejudiced. This is apart from violating the petitioner's privacy, and the content, without any justification, exposes the petitioner to ridicule and harassment by the public at large," they added.
Rao had earlier applied for a temporary injunction and filed a suit against the respondents, but the civil court had only issued suit summons and emergent notices on IA when an interim order was required for the purpose of the application and suit.
"The Episode No.1 of the series "Crime Stories. India Detective" and titled "A Murdered Mother" is on the Over the Top (OTT) platform and is available for viewing to all the registered users. The content being available for viewing the petitioner would be put to harassment and prejudice," noted the court before issuing the restraining order. It has also issued a notice to the respondents, giving them time to file a response until 21th of October.