Bombay High Court Paves Way for Indrani Mukherjea’s Docu-Series On Netflix

Bombay High Court Paves Way for Indrani Mukherjea’s Docu-Series On Netflix

HC says it did not find anything prejudicial to the prosecution or the trial

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, March 01, 2024, 01:44 AM IST
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Indrani Mukherjea alongside Sheena Bora | File

The Bombay High Court on Thursday paved the way for release of a Netflix docu-series based on the life of Indrani Mukerjea, who is accused of killing her daughter Sheena Bora in 2012, observing that it found nothing prejudicial to the prosecution or the trial. 

The court, while dismissing  the plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said it will record reasons separately. 

‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth’

The central agency had filed a plea seeking stay on the release of the docu-series till the trial in the case is complete. Titled ‘The Indrani Mukerjea Story: Buried Truth’, delves into the disappearance of 25-year-old Bora. It was scheduled to premiere on streaming platform Netflix on February 23. 

Last week, the court had asked Netflix to hold a special screening of the series for the CBI officers and lawyers concerned. The judges too viewed the series last weekend. Netflix had then said it will not release the series Thursday, February 29. 

During the hearing on Thursday, Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas, for the CBI, submitted  the series prejudices administration of justice and fair trial. He claimed that it may create a public perception which would in turn affect the judicial mind.

"Honestly we did not find anything”

However , the court deferred and said it too had watched the series and had in fact thought that the CBI would not seek for the stay of the series. “There is nothing in the series that goes against the prosecution or the trial. We tried to look at it in every single way but honestly we did not find anything,” a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Manjusha Deshpande said. 

The  judges remarked that not a single witness, who was interviewed by the makers of the series, has said any single word against the prosecution. “Not a single witness has said anything. Let us not say much as the series is yet to be released. Tell us which witness has spoken which is contrary to the prosecution? In fact it is favouring the prosecution,” the judges said. 

The media trial and debates on ongoing cases is not something new and there can be no censoring of the same, the court remarked. 

"Public perception is the least of a court's concern"

“Public perceptions can be influenced by newspapers and everything. But the judiciary does not get affected by all this. We only go by evidence and what is produced before us. Public perception is the least of a court's concern,” Justice Dere emphasised. Further she said that people watch such movies and move on,  nobody carries it with them.

Moreover, what Indrani Mukerjea herself has said in the series is what is already available in the public domain, the bench said. “Initially, we felt that the CBI had a genuine apprehension and hence we gave it the opportunity to view the series and we did not even let the other party to argue,” Justice Dere said. However, Justice Dere stressed that they have viewed the series  and honestly not found anything that goes against the prosecution. 

The court also took into account the fact that already four books have been unloaded on the, including one by Indrani herself. Even two movies have been made an ther are podcasts on it. 

The bench also did not allow Peter Mukherjea, Indrani’s former husband and a co-accused in the case, to intervene in the CBI’s plea. His advocate Manjula Rao submitted that the series showed him in bad light, to which the court said that he could initiate separate proceedings. 

The CBI had approached the HC last week after its plea was rejected by the special court. It claimed that so far, 89 witnesses out of 237 have been examined before the trial court.    

Bora was allegedly strangled to death in a car by Indrani, her then driver Shyamvar Rai and former husband Sanjeev Khanna in April 2012. Bora was Indrani’s daughter from her previous relationship. Her body was burnt in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.

However, the murder came to light in 2015 after Rai revealed about the killing following his arrest in another case. Indrani was  arrested in August 2015 and granted bail by the Supreme Court in May 2022. Other accused, including Peter Mukerjea,  are also out on bail.

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