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SC dismisses plea seeking stay on PM Modi biopic, says film yet to be certified by CBFC

The court further said it is to be decided by the Election Commission whether the movie violates the Model Code of Conduct.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by a Congress activist seeking a stay on the release of ‘PM Narendra Modi’ biopic.

A bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said it was not entertaining the petition as the film has not yet been certified by the Censor Board.

The court further said it is to be decided by the Election Commission whether the movie violates the Model Code of Conduct.

The Election Commission had on Friday decided to consult its legal experts before taking a final decision on whether to restrain the release of PM Narendra Modi biopic till the Lok Sabha polls are over.

However, there is a strong view in the EC that it should not restrain the release of the biopic on the Prime Minister and should leave it to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to take a call on the issue.

The censor board had earlier said the film was still undergoing due process of examination and certification.

“Since there are a lot of queries around the certification of the film, (I) would like to give a clear picture: the film is going through the due process of examination and certification according to the requisite guidelines and is yet to be certified as the process is not complete at this point,” CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi had said.

However, film’s producer Sandip Singh had said on Friday that the biopic on PM Modi will hit theatres on April 11.

The announcement came just a day after the film’s makers deferred its release from April 5, following the Supreme Court’s decision to set the date to hear a plea seeking to block the movie’s release, for April 8.

Previously, the Election Commission had cleared the release of the biopic stating that the film has not violated the model code of conduct.

Opposition parties including the Congress had moved the poll body stating that the purpose of the release was “political” to get extra mileage in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The film, fronted by Vivek Oberoi and directed by “Mary Kom” maker Omung Kumar, has courted controversy with various political parties saying that releasing it less than a week before the general elections begin is a violation of the model code of conduct.

The movie showcases the trajectory of PM Modi’s life, from his formative years with the RSS, his chief ministership in Gujarat and how he led his party to a majority victory in 2014 and thereby becoming the Prime Minister of the country.

The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will begin on April 11 and end on May 19. The model code of conduct came into force on March 10 when the elections were announced.