SC Refuses to Interfere in Release of Biopic on PM Narendra Modi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 9 April, refused to interfere in the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it is a matter for the Censor Board (CBFC) and the Election Commission.

"Too much time of the court is being taken up in non-issues," Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, as he refused to direct the EC to take a decision.

The CJI also said that while the CBFC is to consider the content, the EC is to look at the issues of propaganda, and whether or not the film should be released.

Dismissing the petition filed by a Congress activist seeking stay on the release of the biopic, the apex court said it was not entertaining the plea as it is "premature" as the movie has not yet been certified by the Censor Board.

It said even if the film is released on 11 April, as claimed by the Congress activist, it will be appropriate for him to seek a redressal from the Election Commission.

"We, therefore do not consider it fit to entertain the petition", a bench comprising CJI Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said.

What Happened on Monday?

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court had said it could not pass an order on a plea seeking a stay on the release of the biopic as the Censor Board was yet to certify the film.

Posting the matter for further hearing for Tuesday, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had asked how could they do anything when nobody had seen the film. The bench had said the order could be passed if petitioner brings on record what the film depicts is highly objectionable.

"“It is an assault on the basic structure. Nothing like this had been done for 70 years. The producers are card-carrying members of BJP.”" - Abhishek Manu Singhvi, petitioner’s lawyer

The CJI had asked senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi (who is representing the petitioner) to submit details regarding what is wrong with the movie and why it is a problem on the basis of contents. However, the court refused to issue a direction on the petitioner's plea that the copy of the biopic be given to him.

Singhvi had said he would only be able to base his arguments on the trailer and publicity for the film on Tuesday.

According to the producers, the film – titled PM Narendra Modi and starring Vivek Oberoi – will be released on 11 April, which happens to be the first day of polling for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The film was earlier scheduled for release on 5 April, but this has been delayed after the Election Commission asked the CBFC to examine it more carefully.

The film has generated a lot of controversy before its release, with Opposition parties having urged the EC to delay its release saying that its purpose was "political" to get extra mileage in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Also Read: A Modi Biopic, NaMo TV, and Now TV Serials Campaigning For Modi?

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