High Court declines intervening time keep on airing Netflix display

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined any interim stay on airing of Vir Das’s ‘Hasmukh’ on Netflix, noting that any such order would interfere with the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed that the show was a “dark satirical comedy attempting to expose the ills of various professions” and one of the satirical techniques of criticising a particular subject or character “was to exaggerate it beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen”.

The court was hearing a plea which alleged that the webseries was maligning the image and reputation of lawyers.

‘Satirical picture’

“The very essence of democracy is that a creative artist is given the liberty to project the picture of the society in a manner he perceives. One of the prime forms of exposing the ills of the society is by portraying a satirical picture of the same,” the court said.

“Stand-up comedians perform that very purpose. In their portrayal they use satire and exaggerate the ills to an extent that it becomes a ridicule. In the humorous portrayal of the ills of the society the stand-up comedians use satire,” it said.

Netflix argued that the series’ theme makes it clear that the intention was not to defame or malign any particular profession, but the idea was to “spin a dark satirical comedy about evil in various walks of life and its impact on society”.

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