15 April 2019
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday 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 April 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 April 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 April 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 April 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 favour of a political party.
The court had said let the EC decide the matter. (IANS)