The Delhi High Court had declined to grant the interim stay on the airing of the Vir Das’s ‘Hasmukh’ on Netflix, abandoning the appeal that claimed that the fictional series has spoken ill of and defamed advocates. The application which was moved by lawyer Ashutosh Dubey had been dismissed by Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva.
The main petition for the permanent injunction on the airing of the show is still pending. It is listed for hearing after 2 months, i.e., in July.
The suit sought an injunction for the airing of the series or deletion of some of its content, especially from its fourth episode, which was accused of containing scenes that defamed the image and reputation of advocates, it stated.
They claimed that the fourth episode of web series contained scenes that referred to the lawyers as thieves, scoundrels, goons, and rapists.
Apart from asking to stop the airing of the show, they also demanded the web series’ producers, directors, and writer, i.e., the crew to “tender unconditional apology online for maligning the image of the lawyers’ community, which incorporates judges too as they too had been lawyers at one point of your time .”
On the other side, Advocate Saikrishna Rajagopal, representing Netflix argued that the injunction on the show is contrary to freedom of speech and expression, the very fundamental rights that are guaranteed by the constitution.
It has argued that several judgments say lawyers as a class cannot be defamed.
It has said that if an injunction is granted during this matter then it’ll open the floodgates to defamation litigation by “so-called class of persons, including chartered accounts, engineers, doctors, IAS officers, cops, who might not accept as true with any cinematic or theatrical portrayal of their class.”
Netflix also said that a series is an act of friction, and it needs to be considered as a work of imagination and humour.
The show’s protagonist performs a stand-up act on people from various facets of life, who are murder professionals, Netflix clarified.