HC dismisses plea seeking stay on release of Yash Raj Films’ web series The Railway Men

The Bombay High Court has dismissed a plea seeking a stay on the over-the-top (OTT) release of the web series, titled The Railway Men – The Untold Story of Bhopal 1984. The series, produced by Yash Raj Films, is set to be released on November 18, 2023.

The plea was filed by former Union Carbide India Pvt Ltd employees Satya Prakash Choudhry and J Mukund, who had sought an injunction against the release of the web series. Choudhry and Mukund, convicted in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, aimed to exclude references to the tragic events surrounding the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the circumstances prevailing inside the pesticides factory and the MIC plant shortly before, at the time of, and immediately after the gas leakage, and the manner in which gas leakage led to the death of thousands.

The appellants argued that the portrayal of events in the web series could adversely impact the judicial proceedings against them. However, Yash Raj Films’ counsel countered, asserting that the series was fictional and inspired by real events, not a documentary or a factual account.

The vacation bench of Justice Arif Doctor dismissed the plea for stay, deeming it “prima facie untenable”. The judge reasoned that the appellants are already convicted in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, the trial concluded way back in 2010, and the disclaimer preceding the airing of the web series would clearly state that it is a work of fiction, inspired by real events.

Justice Doctor further stated, “Given this, I find that the appellants have, in my view at this stage, not satisfied the very high threshold test required to stay the release of the said web series.” The vacation bench also considered that the production house had informed the two former Union Carbide employees in November 2022 that the web series was ready, but they chose to approach the court only on November 8, 2023 – two days after its second teaser was released.

Speaking of the Netflix series, it stars Babil Khan, Divyenndu Sharma, Kay Kay Menon, and R Madhavan, among many others.

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