Modi biopic: SC refuses to intervene

New Delhi, Apr 26 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/26/2019 12:23:31 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere in the Election Commission’s order imposing a ban on the release of a film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ongoing elections.

After the the apex court order, the movie can be released only after voting in the last phase of elections is over on May 19.

The producer of the film contended before the court that the poll body order suppresses the right to freedom of expression, and that it also opposes the clearance granted by Censor Board, the authority which grants permission for public screening. 

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the clearance from the Censor Board could not be used an instrument against the EC order. 

The bench observed that if the poll body is convinced that the film could tilt the balance, the film could influence voters, and give political mileage to one party, then Censor Board certificate has no relevance.

The top court also rejected granting permission to screen the promo of the film before its formal release.

Earlier, in a report to the Supreme Court, the Election Commission restated its decision to ban the release of PM Narendra Modi’s biopic during the ongoing polls. The poll body officers after watching the film opined that there is high probability that a particular political party will gain electoral mileage, if the film is permitted to be released during the ongoing polls.

Indicating the main reason for EC’s ban on the film, the EC in its report said it believes that the drama revolving around the lead character has the potential to tilt the electoral balance in favour of a political party, therefore, the poll body is justified in its decision to release the film after the last phase of voting on May 19.

The Election Commission submitted its report in the court through its counsel Rakesh Dwivedi. The bench directed the EC counsel to also share the report with the film’s producer, who had moved the apex court challenging the commission’s decision to ban its release despite getting the nod of the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).

The EC in its report said that the movie is pivoted on popularizing the character Narendra Modi, and also portrayed him as a leader with no-compromise approach. 

“The content of the movie is uni-dimensional,” said a source. 

Earlier, the poll body had said that release of the film is not justified after the model code of conduct has been put in place. The film producer has said that EC’s ban is simply over-exaggeration.

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