The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition seeking stay on the release of PM Narendra Modi biopic. The film will release as planned on April 12, unless the petitioner decides to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The PIL had asked for a stay on release on grounds that the model code of conduct will be violated if the film released ahead of Lok Sabha elections scheduled to happen between April 11 and May 19. Petitioner Sujeet Kumar Singh, a lawyer by profession, said that the film will act as a campaign strategy for Modi to garner more votes.
The petitioner sought a stay on release till the general election results are announced on May 23, stating that the title of the film was itself a clear violation of the model code of conduct as it was the name of a contesting candidate. The plea also sought action from the Election Commission.
However, the Delhi HC bench headed by Rajendra Menon and AJ Bhambhani dismissed the plea, saying, “We are not going to interfere with this. You go to the censor board or the Election Commission.”
As reported earlier, the Election Commission had issued a show-cause notice to the filmmakers in response to requests made by political parties asking for a stay on release. The deputy secretary of DMK’s Engineers wing in Pollachi asked to defer release. The Goa unit of Congress’ student wing demanded a ban on the film.
Following this, the EC organised a meeting last Thursday. The film’s lead Vivek Oberoi, producer Sundip Ssingh, and their lawyer Hitesh Jain appeared before a panel. They insisted that there was no political propaganda behind the film, and they had not violated the model code of conduct.
The team refuted allegations of taking money from political parties to produce the movie. “If a producer who is making a movie relating to a political figure or political party is presumed to have a political nexus, then every movie made in India involving political leaders will be identified as a propaganda movie,” said the lawyer.
The Election Commission is yet to announce its decision. Directed by Omung Kumar, the biopic traces Modi’s life from his entry into politics till the 2014 general elections. Along with Vivek Oberoi, actors Zarina Wahab, Prashant Narayanan, Boman Irani, Barkha Bisht and Manoj Joshi play supporting roles.
Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle