Supreme Court Dismisses Petition Seeking Stay On Release of PM Modi Biopic
The Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by a Congress activist seeking stay on the release of biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the Election Commission would be an "appropriate" place to seek the redressal.
The apex court said it was not entertaining the petition for the stay on the release of the film which would be "premature" in view of the fact that the movie is yet to be certified by the Censor Board.
It said even if the film is released on April 11, 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", said a bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
The court had on Monday said that "any kind of order from the court will be possible if the petitioner states and pleads what the film is seeking to depict and his objections on this count".
The bench said the petitioner has been unable to obtain the copy of the biopic and the video clipping, which is a two minute trailer, was not sufficient to assess that the film would influence or impact the upcoming general elections.
It also said that even if the film tilts the balance in favour of BJP in the general elections as contended by the Congress activist, it is for the for the Election Commission to analyse the complaint.
While dismissing the petition filed by Congress activist Aman Panwar, the bench recorded that it has refused to see the trailer of the film "because a two-minute view of the film cannot help in knowing the impact of the film in the forthcoming general elections".
It said: "The circumstances on the release of the biopic are for the Election Commission to see, and that even if all that the petitioner claims is found to be true, he will be entitled to the relief which he has himself sought for the film to not to be screened forty-eight hours prior to the polls."
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Congress activist submitted that the trailer begins with an overly-enthusiastic young boy selling tea at a railway station, with the narration 'ek mamuli chaiwala desh ka PM ban gaya' (an ordinary tea-vendor became the nation's PM).
He also submitted that the song released with the trailer is BJP's campaign anthem from the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and Modi's popular dialogues have been used in the biopic which states "".
Singhvi said that Prasoonn Joshi, lyricist of the film is the CBFC Chairman.
"The visual impact is much stronger", Singhvi said and added that the term 'chowkidaar' is also mentioned in the film with the prefix to the official handle of the PMO.
The senior advocate said that Vivek Oberoi, who is the lead actor is the star campaigner for the party and his father who is the co-producer of the biopic is a card holder of the BJP.
"Level-playing field is of paramount importance in the electoral law. The campaigning is stopped 48 hours before the poll but this film will continue for 40 days!", he submitted.
However, the Bench was not impressed with the arguments and said "Too much of the court's time is taken up by these non-issues".
"Look at your prayers. Is it your case that the film has been certified for release? Don't force our hand!", the bench observed.