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Why Election Commission changed its mind on Modi biopic and stopped its release

EC invoked its extraordinary powers to stall the release of PM Narendra Modi, a biopic on the prime minister.

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New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) was ready to give its go-ahead for the release of PM Narendra Modi, the biopic on the prime minister, but changed its mind suddenly — and it’s all thanks to Tuesday’s Supreme Court order.

As reported by ThePrint, the EC was studying an earlier Supreme Court order —  which said the censor board has the last word on a film’s release and screening — when it was looking to respond to a Congress complaint filed on 25 March against the biopic.

On Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court, while rejecting a plea that sought to defer the release of the Modi biopic, said such issues should be left to the EC.

“The CBFC is yet to certify the movie…It is up to the EC to take a call,” said the a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, refusing to interfere in the matter.

The SC order is believed to have led to a rethink in the poll panel. The apex court’s observation that the issue should be left to the EC’s discretion led the panel to invoke its extraordinary powers under Article 324 and stall the release of the film.


Also read: Modi biopic cleared with 11 cuts, scene of him monitoring anti-terror ops deleted


The EC decision came a day before the biopic was set for release.

In a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), the EC Wednesday said, “any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purpose 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 cinematography, during the operation of the MCC (model code of conduct)”.

However, before the EC came up with the order, the thinking within the Commission was that it may not have the legal authority to stall the release of a film that is certified by the CBFC, ThePrint has learnt.

Can the EC order be challenged?

Even as the order has been welcomed by most, some fear that it may be challenged by the producers of the film.

However, given SC’s own instruction to the EC to take a decision in the matter, it is likely that it will hold the test of legal scrutiny, said S.K. Mendiratta, the former legal advisor to the commission.

“Anybody can take the matter to court,” Mendiratta told ThePrint. “But given that the Supreme Court itself has said EC should take a call in the issue, it is unlikely that it will be struck down.”


Also read: Narendra Modi didn’t need NaMo TV or biopics in 2014, he needs both now


 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s just to benefit to congress only everyone knows that what is the life of modiji congress not wanted that public will aware during the casting their votes.

  2. Whether Movie would have unfair advantage to party and Modi is an for debate. EC decision to defer the release has in way helped to prevent anti social elements acting as pro and anti Modi to spread violence inside and outside theaters. PM and other leaders on whom such stupid biopics are getting made could have either makers to stop making one or else release it after election. But we don’t have magnanimous leaders who don’t want publicity beyond a limit as India and Indians survive in sychopancy. Strangely I have not seen PM Modi taking lead on such issues as he himself is a publicity seeker.

  3. One can see the EC’s decision from a practical point of view, but it does not seem to be on a firm legal ground.

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