The Election Commission, on Wednesday (April 10), has banned the release of Narendra Modi biopic ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
In a statement, EC has said that no biopics can be released during election reasoning that they are a kind of surrogate publicity.
As of now, PM Narendra Modi biopic will not release in theatres on April 11, as it falls in the first phase of polling of Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, the apex court on Tuesday has declined a plea seeking a stay on PM Narendra Modi biopic.
Read the order issued by the Election Commission against the release of Modi biopic here.
"Election Commission of India has announced General Elections to 17. Lok Sabha, 2019 on 10. March, 2019 and from the doe of announcement of the elections, the Model Code of Conduct has come into operation. 'The Model Cock of Conduct (mcq is an umbrella code, developed in consultation with the political parties, facilitates level playing field to all the political parties and the candidates and it inter-alia seeks to ensure that the power of media is not used in such a manner which affects the general conduct and level playing field during the electoral process.
2. It has come to the notice of the Commission that certain political contents, which are not in confonnity with the Model Code of Conduct, are being displayed or intended to be displayed to the public through electronic media including cinematograph in the public, which relates to either a candidate or a political party or a specific achievement of the party in power and these arc displayed with the purpose of furtherance of electoral gains during the period of Model Code of Conduct. Also, it has come to the notice of the Commission that there are instances "/".... of displaying of such political contents on electronic media, which discredit or
diminish the electoral prospect of candidate or a political party(es). So far, the Commission has received complaints about certain cinemas namely NTR Laxtni', Narendra Modi', and lidyama Simham', which are claimed to either diminish or advance the electoral prospect of a candidate or a political party in the garb of creative freedom. It is claimed that such creative contents toot kind of surrogate publicity by the candidate or the political party during the period of MCC. Though the display materials daim to be part of creative content, it is contended that these have propensity and potentiality to affect the hod playing Odd which is not in consonance with the pnwisions of thc NIdol Code of Conduct.
3. As these contents are incorporated in the story line/scheme of the programs being shown and there would be difficulty in proving the payment of money, they may not fall under the category of "advertisement" strictly and May remain outside the purview of MCNIC certification requirement, thereby evading the directive given by the Flon'ble Supreme Coon in Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting vs. M/s Gemini TV [(2004) 5 SCC 7141. Such 'political contents' poses a serious threat to the level playing Odd as it may create an impression of truthfulness of such content being shown through Television/Cinema/Intemet based entertainment programs/social media. And therefor, it is in the larger interest of ensuring the level pla)ing field and conduct of free and fair elections that such political content ought to be regulated during the election period to prevent violation of Model Code of Conduct.
4. "Free and fair Elections" has not only been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Coos of India to be a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution (People'S Union For Civil Libertes vs Union Of India & Anr, (2013) but is also sacrosanct right of every citizen in a democracy. In Mohinder Singh Gill & Anr vs The Chief Election Commissioner & Ors. ( 1978 AIR 851), Hon'ble Supreme Court held that
"Since the conduct of all elections to the various legislative bodies and to the
offices of ht President and the Viot.Poosidott is vested under Article 324 (1) in the Election Commission the framers of the Constitution took care to leaving scope for exercise of residuary power by the Commission in its own right, as a creature of the Constitution, in the infinite variety of situations that may emerge from time to time in such a large democracy as ours. Every contingency could not bc foreseen, or anticipated with precision."
"whether the film will IS the electoral balance in favour of any political party, is a question that can and shookl be addressed by the Election Commission of India." lt also held in the context of the instant matter that "If the film is to be so released on I I. April 2019, what conditions should govern such release thereafter is a matter that the Election Commission of India has to decide."
7. Earlier on 25. March 2019, the Commission also asked the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to take note of the operation of MCC.
8. Section 126 (1) of the Representative of the People Act, 1951 prescribes that (1) No person shall—.(a) convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in conncction with an election; or 134 display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus; or (e) propagate any election matter to the public by holding, or by arranging the holding of, any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public thereto, in any polling area during thc period of forty-cight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in that polling area.
Even for Print Media, the Commission on previous occasion in 2015 (reiterated vide No. 491/MCMC/2019/Communications dated 60 April 2019), directed that only pre-certified political advertisements be allowed to be displayed to ensure a level playing field as the aggrieved person or party may not have the occasion to approach for the redressal of harm caused, if any."
#LokSabhaElections2019#ElectionCommissionOfIndia#ModiBiopic— The Leaflet (@TheLeaflet_in) April 10, 2019
JUST IN: Election Commission of India in exercise of power vested in it by virtue of Article 324 of the Constitution, bans release of biopic of Prime Minister @narendramodi till Model Code of Conduct is in force. pic.twitter.com/ldyPRgpOYR