The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Election Commision to watch the Vivek Oberoi starrer biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then take a call on whether it should be banned.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the poll body to file a report in a sealed cover by April 22 when the court will further hear the matter.
This comes after producers of the film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ moved the apex court challenging the Election Commission’s ban on the release of a biopic till the general election is over.
The poll panel had on April 10 banned the screening of the biopic during the current poll period, saying any such film that subserves purpose of any political entity or individual should not be displayed in the electronic media.
The Commission, in a separate order, had also directed the producers “not to exhibit the film titled ‘PM Narendra Modi’ till further orders.
Interestingly, the EC order came after the apex court on Tuesday last disposed of the petition filed by a Congress activist seeking stay on the release of the biopic, saying the poll panel was the right forum to decide the issue.
The Modi biopic, starring Vivek Oberoi and directed by Omung Kumar, tells the story of PM Modi’s rise to power from his humble beginnings.
The Commission, in its order dated April 10, a day before the film was to be released, coinciding with the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, banned the film from public screening.
Acting on the complaints of political parties, including the Congress, the poll panel had asserted that any biopic material with the potential to disturb the level playing field should not be displayed in the area where Model Code of Conduct was in force.
The copy of the order was also sent to the Central Board of Film Certification chairman and Secretary, Information and Broadcasting ministry.
Votes for all 543 seats will be counted on May 23 after the end of the seven-phase polling on May 19.
“It is claimed that such creative contents are kind of surrogate publicity by the candidate or the political party during the period of model code.
Though the display materials claim to be part of creative content, it is contended that these have propensity and potentiality to affect the level playing field which is not in consonance with the provisions of the model code of conduct,” the EC had noted.
The order had specifically stated that in view of the admitted acts and material available on record, this film being a biopic on Narendra Modi, “prime minister and a political leader and a prospective candidate in the current general elections” can not be exhibited in view of Commission’s order.