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Delhi high court refuses to stop Netflix from streaming web-series Hasmukh

The makers of Vir Das's latest Netflix series are facing a court case for allegedly defaming the legal profession in one of the episodes.

Our Correspondent

The Delhi high court yesterday refused to grant an interim stay on the streaming of Vir Das's Netflix series Hasmukh. The makers of the web-series were sent a legal notice on 20 April, citing defamation of lawyers in a joke in one of the episodes.

During the last hearing, the court had reserved its order on the question of granting a stay until the matter is disposed of. The petition has asked for deletion of the parts which apparently shows lawyers in a bad light. It said the web-series had defamed the legal profession.

The main suit is pending and both parties have been told to file their replies. The plea, filed by lawyers Abhishek Bhardwaj and Hardik Vashisth, wants the producers to tender an unconditional apology and remove the 'objectionable' content.

Following the high court's decision not to grant a stay, Vir Das thanked the judiciary on his Twitter page. ''As artists, we are taught to accept feedback humbly, and I do so knowing that my work always has, and will, polarize people. But if we can accept that these actions go a little beyond feedback, I hope I have earned the right to respectfully respond," he wrote.

The statement also carried a portion of the Delhi high court's observation, which read, "The very essence of democracy is that a creative artist is given the liberty to project the picture of society in a manner he perceives. One of the prime forms of exposing the ills of a society is by portraying a satirical picture of the same. Stand-up comedians perform that very purpose. In their portrayal, they use satire and exaggerate the ills to an extent that it becomes ridicule. In the humorous portrayal of the ills of society, stand-up comedians use satire."

Hasmukh is directed by Nikhil Gonsalves and has been written by Gonsalves, Das, Suparn S Verma, Neeraj Pandey and Amogh Ranadive. Besides Das, the series features Ranvir Shorey, Inaamulhaq and Manoj Pahwa.

Netflix began streaming the show, consisting of 10 episodes, from 17 April.

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