SC asks EC to watch Modi biopic and submit decision

SC asks EC to watch Modi biopic and submit decision

The Apex court directed the EC to submit in a sealed cover its decision adding that it will consider the matter on April 22.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Election Commission to first watch 'PM Narendra Modi',  a biopic on incumbent Prime Minister, and then give its report in a sealed cover by the weekend.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, put the writ petition filed by film producer, Sandeep Vinod Kumar Singh, for consideration on April 22.

As soon as the matter was taken up, the court asked the EC's counsel if the poll panel has watched the movie, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the film producer, said it had no occasion so far but just barred its release.

The court then passed its order and asked the EC to watch the movie and give its report.

It put the matter for consideration on April 22.

Producers of 'PM Narendra Modi' challenged the Election Commission's order barring its release, saying the direction violated their fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

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.