[dropcap]A[/dropcap] three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna today refused to interfere with the decision of the Election Commission of India (EC) to stay the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi till the completion of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The apex court had, on April 15, 2019, directed the EC to watch the biopic, PM Narendra Modi, and report back to it in a sealed envelope. In response, the EC, after watching the film, had told the Supreme Court that PM Narendra Modi was not just a biopic, but also had dialogues, symbols, and presentations that “eulogises a public representative”
“This can be categorised as hagiography,” the EC had said in its opinion submitted to the Supreme Court.
The operative part of the EC’s opinion to the Supreme Court reads as follows:
“In view of the above, this Committee is of the considered view that the public screening of the movie “PM Narendra Modi” during the period of Model Code of Conduct will tilt the electoral balance of the particular political party, therefore, the public screening of the movie “PM Narendra Modi” should not be allowed till the last date of poll i.e. 19.05.2019 in the ongoing elections”
The petition was filed by the producers of the biopic against the order dated April 10, 2019, of the EC directing the biopic producers to not release the film till further orders while the Model Code of Conduct was in force.
On April 12, 2019, the makers of the biopic approached the apex court against the EC’s order on the ground that it violated their freedom of speech and expression, and freedom to carry on business.