Karnataka HC to block 1st episode on request of petitioner

The High Court of Karnataka has directed Netflix Entertainment Services India LLP. To block the streaming, telecasting, broadcasting, or otherwise making available the first episode. This was done at the request of a petitioner. This is the first episode namely “A Murdered Mother” of the documentary series “Crime Stories: India Detectives” on the platform of Netflix.

A petition was filed against it by Sridhar Rao S. He is a 28-year-old resident of the city. He is also an alleged co-accused in the case of murder of 54-year0old Nirmala Chandrasekhar. This case is registered at K.R. Puram police station in February last year. In the petition, it has been pointed out that the first episode of “Crime Stories: India Detectives” has problematic content. Actually, he claims that the content contains the visuals of the investigation by the police against the petitioner as well as another accused, Amrutha Chandrasekhar.

It was alleged that Amrutha Chandrasekhar had killed her mother and attempted to kill her brother. She later fled to Andaman and Nicobar islands with the petitioner. The petitioner supposedly picked her up from in front of her house in the city. This happened during the early hours of February 2, 2020. They went on to board a flight to Port Blair. Many things have been alleged in the petition. It read, “The Netflix is streaming the recordings of the petitioner, made by Minnow Films Ltd, on his custodial interrogations, custodial interview, and the derogatory statement made by the police during the investigation in a manner which is against the law.”

Contending that the petitioner is innocent as even Amrutha, the petitioner gave a statement to the police. The statement said that he was not involved in the crime. It has been contended in the petition that the episode has caused “a real and imminent threat of prejudice to the fairness of the trial and to the rights of the petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution besides affecting his privacy.”

The petition also claimed that he noticed several things. He noticed that on the day the police arrested him in February last year, “the police authorized Ms. Claire Goodlass and her team from Minnow Films to video record all the instances and movement of the petitioner, and also interviewing various officials.” The petitioner also claimed the following in the petition. He claimed that the crew also video shot and forced him to give his custodial statement. They did this without any permission or authorization. However, later the police forcefully took his signature on a piece of paper given by Minnow Films. All these happened when the petitioner was in police custody.

It has been contended in the petition that, “documentaries are duty-bound to seek the truth and report it fairly and broadcast the documentary only after ensuring that all the facts that are broadcast are hiding the identity of the individual involved.”

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