Delhi High Court permits Netflix to release series based on Uphaar Fire Tragedy
The High Court of Delhi on Thursday allowed US-based production company Netflix to release Trial By Fire, a series based on the Uphaar Cinema fire incident that claimed 59 lives in June, 1997.
The order was passed by the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Yashwant Varma. A detailed order is awaited.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Single-Judge Bench had reserved judgment on the suit filed by Real Estate tycoon Sushil Ansal, who was convicted in the case by the Supreme Court.
The show, which is set to stream from January 13 on Netflix, is based on a 2016 book titled ‘Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy,’ which was written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, a couple who lost their two children in the 1997 tragedy.
The House of Talkies, along with Endemol Shine India, have produced the series.
The suit by Ansal, which has been filed through Advocates Gautam Khazanchi, Kumar Vaibhaw, Somaya Gupta and Sukanya Joshi, said that the series was defamatory and infringed on his right to privacy.
Seeking injunction against the release of the web series, Ansal claimed that the series directly attacked his personality as the teaser of the series, which claimed to be a work of fiction, mentioned his name. He further contended that the teaser has already garnered 1.5 million views in the past four four days, which showed the immediate impact it had on the viewers.
As per the suit, 83-year-old Ansal has been punished both legally and socially for his association with Uphaar Tragedy and his family has also suffered extensively.
He also said that he has apologised to the families of victims of tragedy and has also expressed deep remorse. He requested that he ought not to be made perpetually liable to be rebuked by the public time and again, especially after having served the sentence.
Ansal argued after watching the trailer and the teaser of the series, his portrayal seems to have propensity to cause immense and irreparable harm to his reputation, which has already been tarnished. He also spoke about his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Ansal said that the release of the impugned series will lead to further prejudice and harm to the Plaintiff and will be in grave breach of the Plaintiff’s fundamental rights, inter alia, to privacy as envisaged by the Constitution of India.
Although the suit asked for a permanent injunction on the series and the book, it also sought an ex-parte interim order to stay the release of the show on Netflix.
(Case title: Sushil Ansal v. Endemol India Pvt Ltd)