Modi Biopic

Actor Vivek Oberoi dressed up as Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the trailer launch of "PM Narendra Modi" in Mumbai, on March 20. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Apr. 15 directed the Election Commission to watch the film "PM Narendra Modi," a biopic on the Prime Minister, and submit it's report in a sealed cover to the court by the end of this week.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, has scheduled the hearing of the writ petition filed by film producer, Sandeep Ssingh, on Apri. 22.

When the court asked the poll panel counsel whether the poll body has already seen the film, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the producer submitted before the court that the poll body has barred the film's release, without even watching it.

The bench then asked the EC counsel to watch the movie and submit its report to the court.

The Supreme Court scheduled the matter for next hearing on Apr. 22.

The filmmakers had moved the apex court challenging the EC's order delaying its release date.

The petitioners contended that the poll body order violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

Last week, the EC issued an order barring the screening of political films during the polls.

The film starring Vivek Oberoi was slated to release on Apr. 11, the first day of polling for the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections.

"Any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed in electronic media, including cinematograph during the operation of the MCC (Model Code of Conduct)," the EC said in its order.

Earlier on Apr. 9, the apex court had rejected a plea filed by a Congress leader, Aman Panwar to stay the release of the biopic. It had also refused to consider the issue whether the screening would tilt the balance in the favor of a political party.

The court had said to let the EC decide the matter.

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