New Delhi, April 15: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Election Commission of India to submit its final decision regarding the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after watching the movie by April 22.
The Court additionally directed the ECI to submit its response in a sealed cover.
The notice was issued in response to the plea moved by the makers of the movie who knocked the doors of the Court when ECI last week restrained the release of the movie scheduled on April 11.
The Election Commission, on April 10 ordered a ban on the release of the movie during the election season, saying that “Any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate (including prospective) for the furtherance (or purported to further) of electoral prospect, directly or indirectly, shall not be put to display in electronic media in the area where MCC is in operation.”
The petitioners sought Court's intervention in order to ensure that their "right to free speech and expression are not violated."
Notably, in the issue of release of the biopic, however, Model Code of Conduct,(MCC) specifically does not prohibits screening of films scripted around a candidate or a political party, so the EC had invoked its extraordinary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, with the view that such films, would “affect the level playing field which is not in consonance with the provisions of Model Code of Conduct", and consequently halted the release of the movie.
Subsequently, in an another order, the EC also imposed a ban on public screening of “any biopic material in the nature of biography/ hagiography” especially claryfing that it could serve the interest of a political party or candidate, during the Model Code of Conduct.
Article 324 of the Constitution provides for vesting of the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections with the Election Commission.
The film titled PM Narendra Modi which has recently received a ‘U’ certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification, has invited many controversies since the launch of its teaser. Many appeals were filed by the opposition parties across various High Courts to stall the release of the movie.
However, the Courts have declined to intervene in the issue on the ground that eventually it is the ECI which could take a call over the release of the biopic which would somehow result in undue favours to a particular political party, and unjustified to other parties.