Modi Biopic still not over: Producers move SC against Election Commission stay on release

Modi Biopic still not over: Producers move SC against Election Commission stay on release

Bar & Bench

The makers of the Vivek Oberoi starrer biopic film based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi have moved the Supreme Court challenging the Election Commission’s decision to stay the release of the film.

The matter was listed for early hearing. The Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna has agreed to hear the matter on Monday, April 15.

Last Wednesday, the Election Commission of India had passed an order banning “political content” that serves the interests of any political entity or is likely to disturb the level playing field during elections. The order had stated,

Such ‘political contents’ poses a serious threat to the level playing field as it may create an impression of truthfulness of such content being shown through Television/Cinema/Internat based entertainment programs/social media. And therefore, it is in larger interest of ensuring the level playing field and conduct of free and fair elections that such political content ought to be regulated during the election period to prevent violation of Model Code of Conduct.”

The order was passed in view of complaints made alleging a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in view of the release of certain films, including the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the Commission admitted that such content would not strictly fall under the category of ‘advertisements’, it nevertheless felt the need to intervene in view of apprehensions that it would disturb the level playing field during the elections. Accordingly, it had issued the following directions;

  • Biopic material serving the interests of any political entity or having the potential to disturb the level playing filled during elections cannot be displayed
  • Posters, publicity material etc. concerning such content should not be displayed, either in print or electronic media
  • Complaints against any violations of these orders would invite action by a Committee to be headed by a retired Supreme Court Justice or a retired High Court Chief Justice

The order was passed shortly after the Supreme Court had declined to stall the release of the film earlier in the week, observing that the“question of whether the film will tilt the electoral balance in favour of any political party is a question that can and should be addressed by the Election Commission of India.”

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