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PM Modi biopic makers move SC against EC’s stay on release, matter to be heard on April 15

After the EC decision, the film can now be released only after May 19, the last phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

SNS | New Delhi |

The makers of ‘PM Narendra Modi’ biopic on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the stalling of the film’s release by the Election Commission.

The court agreed to hear the matter on April 15, after the producers submitted the plea raising issues related to fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression.

Less than 24 hours after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) released Prime Minister Narendra Modi biopic with an “unrestricted” (U) certificate, the Election Commission on Thursday banned the screening of the film during the election period when the Model Code of Conduct is in force. Acknowledging that film could affect the level playing field for other candidates and parties, the EC order said such film that “subserves purpose of any political entity or individual” should not be displayed in the electronic media.

The filmmakers petition came after the apex court on Thursday in a judgement had come down heavily on the West Bengal government for imposing a shadow ban on a Bangla film “Bhobishyoter Bhoot” based on political satire and imposed a fine of Rs 20 lakh on the state government.

The Omung Kumar directorial titled PM Narendra Modi has Vivek Oberoi in the lead role and it chronicles the life of the PM. After the CBFC green signal, the makers of the film had said they would release it on 11 April.

After the EC decision, the film can now be released only after May 19, the last phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by a Congress activist seeking stay on the release of the Modi biopic and said the Election Commission would be the “appropriate” authority to take a call on it.

Citing Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC order said: “…superintendence, directions and control of elections are bestowed upon the Commission and it is the duty of the Commission to take necessary measures to create a level playing field and provide a conducive electoral environment to all the stakeholders.”