Restraining Netflix from releasing its forthcoming web series “Bad Boy Billionaires”, a local Court in Hyderabad earlier this week held that if allowed to stream, the series might cause “irreparable loss” to Satyam Computer Services founder B Ramalinga Raju.
The order which was made available today was passed on a plea by Raju who had sought injunction against the series which was slated for release on September 2.
In its order the Hyderabad Court, accessed by ET, held “Considering the fact that the cases are pending against Raju before the competent Courts in which the very issue whether the petitioner had committed any fraud, financial or otherwise, is sub judice, this Court observes that petitioner has got prima facie case in his favour and if the web series is permitted to be broadcast, the petitioner would be left without any defence and will suffer irreparable loss and injury i.e loss of reputation in the eye of public and the balance of convenience is also in favour of the petitioner”.
The Hyderabad Court ordered an interim injunction restraining Netflix “and their men from releasing, streamlining, transmitting, distributing, exhibiting, performing or communicating to the public or by any means of technology by audio or video performance of the investigative docuseries”.
The Hyderabad court has posted the matter for resumed hearing on November 18.
In his plea, Raj alleged that he watched the trailer and was distressed to see that he was being portrayed conclusively as fraudsters in respect of several crores of money and was being labelled as a Bad Boy.
His petition says that the said depiction in the trailer by Netflix is “without any proper basis, more so, when the cases in relation to issues highlighted in the trailer are pending adjudication before the competent Courts of law”.
Raju has contended that such portrayal will have negative influence on the minds of the viewers. “The viewers may even include current Judges seized of the matters or other Judges who may preside over the matters pending before them” reads his petition.
Alleging a trial by media, Raju has further alleged that the trailer of the said series “portrays the petitioner (Raju) as a fraudster showcasing the opinion of various speakers, passing off as witnesses as though they have first hand information of the said events”.
Raju has claimed that the depiction in the trailer is untrue and the trailer cannot be generalized with other persons in the docuseries i.e Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi.
He further said that Netflix neither approached nor obtained his consent for releasing the trailer or streaming the docuseries.
Alleging that he will be defamed if the series is allowed to stream, Raju has described himself as “one of the pioneers in the IT Industry of India, he is the founder of Satyam Computers Services Limited which became one of the five IT Companies in India and earned immense reputation to the petitioner and the company Satyam Computers is included 185 Fortune 500 Companies”. Raju has said that he is an international IT legendary icon and gained international reputation as an IT czar.
In a related development, Netflix is likely to approach the Patna High Court to seek vacation of stay granted by another local Court in Araria, Bihar. The local Court had also stayed the release of the series on a petition filed by Sahara Chairman Subrata Roy.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a writ filed by Netflix seeking vacation of stay and asked it to approach the Patna High Court.
Netflix has sought to transfer the two injunctions- Bihar and Hyderabad- to Bombay High Court since it is headquartered in Mumbai.
In its order passed by a Court in Araria, Bihar the Judge had held “This Court is of the considered view that the plaintiff (Subrata Roy) has qualified tripartite test of prime facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable loss and grant of ad interim injunction in its favour as such the defendants including their employees, directors, officers, associates or any person or entity acting on their behalf or under their authority are restrained from releasing, transmitting, distributing, exhibiting, performing or communicating to the public by any means or technology by audio or video performance of the impugned trailer of Bad Boy Billionaires using the name of Subrata Roy till the appearance of the defendant and filing show cause”, reads the order.
The order further read “the order is interim in nature and the same shall be decided on merits after hearing both the parties”.