The SC on April 9 had said whether or not the film could be released and whether or not it would tilt the level playing field during electioneering would be decided by the EC, which a day later had banned its release.
When the film’s producer challenged the EC decision, a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked whether the commission had watched the film before banning its release. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said, “The EC did not have the film, how could it watch it?” The CJI-led bench asked the EC to watch the film, which will be specially screened for the commission by the producer, and take a decision on its release by Friday. “The EC will submit its decision in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court on Monday (April 22),” the CJI said.
The bench’s order said, “Without commenting on the merits of the order of the EC, at this stage, we would like the EC or its authorised representative to view the movie and thereafter consider the matter of public screening of the movie once again. If the petitioner prays for an audience before the EC or its authorised representative, the EC would consider the same and grant such an audience. The matter will be listed on April 22.”
On April 9, the SC had dismissed as “premature” a petition filed by Congress spokesman Aman Panwar who had sought a stay on release of Modi’s biopic. The court had said the EC was competent to decide whether release of the film would tilt the level playing field in campaigning.
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