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Watch full Modi biopic before order: Supreme Court to Election Commission

“If the petitioners pray for an audience before the Election Commission or its authorised representative the Election Commission would consider the same and grant such an audience,” the bench ordered.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2019 03:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
SC,Supreme Court,EC
The film producers have moved the top court against the ban imposed on the release of the movie by the EC. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) was asked by the Supreme Court on Monday to re-examine its earlier order that banned the screening of biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after watching the full movie.

A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the poll watchdog should take an informed decision on film’s exhibition after viewing it by April 19 and should place the same before the court in a sealed cover. SC would hear the matter again on April 22.

The film producers have moved the top court against the ban imposed on the release of the movie by the EC.

“If the petitioners pray for an audience before the Election Commission or its authorised representative the Election Commission would consider the same and grant such an audience,” the bench ordered.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, said the poll panel has taken the decision based just on watching the promo, not the entire movie. He suggested his clients were willing to hold a special screening for the poll panel or its committee on Tuesday or Wednesday. “Let them take an informed decision by Friday,” he said.

When enquired the court was told by EC counsel Amit Sharma that EC had not seen the movie. He submitted the movie was not available.

Rohatgi told the bench that EC gave its final opinion on the basis of the two-minute promo of the movie. This was done after the top court had refused to entertain a PIL filed by a Congress worker against the release of the movie.

Last week SC had left it to the EC’s wisdom to take a call as it said a judicial verdict cannot be given in the absence of a censor board certificate and also on the basis of just a two-minute trailer. EC had on April 10 stalled the release of the film during the Lok Sabha elections, 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, 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.

EC order came on complaints of political parties, including the Congress.

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 when Model Code of Conduct is in force, EC had said.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 03:05 IST