A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took the EC’s report on Modi’s biopic and asked the poll panel to supply a copy of the report to the producer of the movie.
The bench, which also comprised justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, has now fixed the plea of producers challenging the EC’s ban on the movie for hearing on Friday 26.
The apex court had on April 15 directed the Election Commission to re-examine its earlier order and take an informed decision on banning pan-India the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after watching the full movie.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for film producers who have challenged the EC’s ban on the biopic’s release till the current general elections are over, had told the top court that the poll panel has taken the decision after watching the promo, and not the entire movie.
EC’s counsel Amit Sharma had said that the entire movie was not available and a decision to ban the release was taken after watching the trailer.
The bench had then asked the poll panel to watch the full movie and then take an informed decision on whether its release should be banned or not.
At the outset, Rohatgi had submitted that the EC had taken a call to ban the movie by watching a two-minute promo.
The EC had on April 10 stalled the release of the film until the polls end, asserting that any biopic material with the potential to disturb the level-playing field during elections should not be displayed.
The commission, in a separate order, had also directed the producers “not to exhibit the film titled ‘PM Narendra Modi’ till further orders”. The film was earlier set to release on April 11.
Acting on the complaints of political parties, including the Congress, the poll panel had also said that any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate (including prospective) for the furtherance (or purported to further) of electoral prospects, directly or indirectly, shall not be put on display in electronic media in the area where MCC is in force.
The Left had also opposed the release of the film, saying it would disturb the level-playing field for other parties in the election and was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Modi biopic, starring Vivek Oberoi, has been the most-talked about movie this election season. Directed by Omung Kumar, it tells the story of Modi’s rise to power from his humble beginnings.
The apex court had on April 9 dismissed a petition filed by a Congress leader Aman Panwar seeking a stay on the release of the biopic, saying the Election Commission would be an “appropriate” place to seek the redressal.
The apex court had said it was not entertaining the petition for the stay on the release of the film which would be “premature” in view of the fact that the movie is yet to be certified by the Censor Board.
It said even if the film is released on April 11, as claimed by the Congress leader, it will be appropriate for him to seek a redressal from the Election Commission.