Producers of 'PM Narendra Modi', a biopic on incumbent Prime Minister, on Friday approached the Supreme Court challenging the Election Commission's order barring its release, saying the direction violated their fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna agreed to consider the matter on Monday, April 15 after a counsel mentioned the matter on behalf of film makers seeking urgent hearing.
On Wednesday, the EC issued a six-page order barring screening of any political film, which could disturb the level-playing field during the elections. The poll-panel also wrote to the producers of the 'PM Narendra Modi', asking them not to screen the film “till further orders”.
The 'PM Narendra Modi' is a Hindi film from Bollywood with celebrity actor Vivek Oberoi essaying the role of the incumbent Prime Minister.
The film was slated for release on Thursday, when the first of the seven phases of polling for the Lok Sabha elections were held.
“Any biopic material in the nature of biography / hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed in electronic media including cinematograph during the operation of the MCC (Model Code of Conduct),” the EC said in its order.
On April 9, the apex court rejected a plea filed by a Congress leader, Aman Panwar to stay the release of film 'PM Narendra Modi'. It had said the plea was "premature" as the film has yet not been certified by the CBFC.
It also declined to consider the issue whether the biopic on Modi would affect the level playing field in general elections, saying it could be decided by the Election Commission.
Subsequently, it was transpired that the CBFC had cleared the film.