True crime is one of the most popular genres on streaming platforms, but Netflix’s latest series has run into some legal trouble.
According to local India media outlets, the Karnataka High Court (KHC) — the highest judicial authority in the Indian state of Karnataka — ordered the streaming service to remove the first episode of “Crime Stories: India Detectives.” Local outlet The News Minute reported that the KHC “passed an interim order restricting Netflix from airing the first episode” of the series, titled “A Murdered Mother.” From the Minute:
The episode features the Bengaluru police probe on the murder of Nirmala Chandrasekhar (54) allegedly carried out by her daughter Amrutha in February 2020, with the help of co-accused Sridhar Rao. Sridhar Rao, who was arrested along with Amrutha, has now filed the petition against the episode.
A single bench of Justice BM Shyam Prasad in his October 1 order said, “In consideration of these submissions, the respondents, subject to further orders, are called upon to block streaming, broadcasting, telecasting or otherwise making available the content of the Episode No 1 of the documentary ‘Crime Stories. India Detective’ titled ‘A Murdered Mother’.” Following the order, the episode has now been made unavailable.
The episode can still be viewed in the United States at the time of this writing.
Co-defendant Rao filed the petition to have the episode removed, after failing to persuade a civil court that his rights had been infringed upon. Rao argued that the episode, which was released even though his case is ongoing, has violated his right to privacy and damaged his chance for a fair trial. An advocate for Rao, who actually filed the petition on his behalf, said the episode “prejudices the petitioner’s defence as it contains interview recorded during the investigation and video recording of a purported confession.”
“The petitioner’s right to a free and fair trial is severely prejudiced. This is apart from violating the petitioner’s privacy, and the content, without any justification, exposes the petitioner to ridicule and harassment by the public at large,” the advocate added.
Rao is facing charges of murder, attempted murder, harboring a fugitive, tampering with evidence, and more.
Justice B.M. Prasad called on Netflix to respond to the order by October 21, 2021.
Netflix has not commented on the order at the time of publication.
The streaming service describes “Crime Stories: India Detectives” as “Cameras following Bengaluru police on the job offer a rare glimpse into the complex and challenging inner workings of four major crime investigations.”
The series was released on September 22, with more episodes planned that will feature crime stories from Delhi and other areas of India.
The controversy is the latest involving disputed programming on Netflix. Last September, The Daily Wire reported that subscription cancellations soared after the streaming service released “Cuties,” a film about a young girl who joins a racy dance troupe. On Twitter, #CancelNetflix trended as viewers accused the film of promoting the sexualization of young girls.
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