EC to consult its legal experts before taking final call on release date of PM Narendra Modi’s biopic

New Delhi: The Election Commission Friday decided to consult its legal experts before taking a final decision on whether to restrain the release of the biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi till the Lok Sabha polls are over.

“The matter is now in the Supreme Court where it is listed for April 8. Since the EC has been made a party, the commission will discuss the situation with its legal experts on way forward,” a functionary explained. Sources said there is a strong view in the EC that it should not restrain the release of the biopic on the prime minister and should leave it to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to take a call on the issue.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, had alleged that the film will give undue advantage to the BJP in electioneering and its release should be delayed till the polls are over. The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls begin on April 11 and end on May 19. The model code of conduct, which among other things, calls for an even-playing field for all parties and candidates, came into force on March 10 when the elections were announced.

‘PM Narendra Modi’ is scheduled to be released on April 11, film’s producer Sandip Ssingh announced on Twitter Friday. A functionary cited at least two Supreme Court rulings about movies. In one of the rulings, the Supreme Court had directed the West Bengal government to ensure satirical film ‘Bhobishyoter Bhoot’ is screened without obstruction. The movie was critical of the state chief minister.

“We also have to see the latest Delhi High court ruling which said the biopic screening should be decided by the EC,” he said, adding that the model code is silent on flims and it was a grey area. He said the EC has to keep the court verdicts in mind. The commission had earlier sent a notice to the makers of the film following a meeting with a Congress delegation, which sought a ban on its release ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. On Monday, the Bombay High Court disposed of a plea filed by a petitioner against the release of the biopic. The court had said that the EC will deal with the issue.

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