‘Disturbs level playing field’: EC stalls release of PM Modi biopic till completion of polls

“Though the display materials claim to be a part of creative content, it is contended that these have propensity and potentiality to affect the level playing field which is not in consonance with the provisions of Model Code of Conduct (MCC),” the poll panel said.

The Election Commission Wednesday stalled the release of the biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the election period. The movie was slated to release tomorrow.

Announcing the stall, the commission said, “Any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purposes 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 cinematograph during the operation of MCC.”

“Though the display materials claim to be a part of creative content, it is contended that these have propensity and potentiality to affect the level playing field which is not in consonance with the provisions of Model Code of Conduct (MCC),” the poll panel said.

In case of any violation or receipt of complaints in this regard, the EC has formed a committee which will examine the said violation and suggest an appropriate action. The Committee shall be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or a retired Justice of any high court.

In its release, the commission said that it had “noticed certain political contents which are not in conformity with the model code of conduct are being displayed or intended to be displayed to the public through electronic media, which relates to either candidate or political party or a specific achievement of the party in power and there are displayed with the purpose of furtherance of electoral gains during the period of MCC.” The panel also added that it has so far received complaints about cinemas namely ‘NTR Laxmi’ ‘PM Narendra Modi’ and ‘Udyama Simham.’
The EC has written to the I&B Ministry as well as Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that a committee headed by retired judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court will henceforth vet all political electronic content (films included) for Model Code violation.
The poll panel’s move comes a day after the Supreme Court refused to stay the release, saying that the EC is the appropriate forum to decide whether the production tilts electoral balance in favour of any party. The Bombay High Court had also disposed of a plea seeking deferment of the biopic’s release, saying the Election Commission will deal with the issue. The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had earlier rejected a plea seeking a ban on the release.
Earlier in the day, the CBFC issued a ‘U’ certificate to the movie. Titled “PM Narendra Modi”, the biopic which was slated to be released on April 5, was later deferred to April 11. Actor Vivek Oberoi plays the titular role of Narendra Modi in the film.
Source: The Indian Express

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