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Delhi high court dismisses PIL seeking stay on Narendra Modi biopic till after the elections

The high court observed that since the matter is also before the Bombay high court, there was no point pursuing two PILs on the same issue.

Photograph: Shutterbugs Images

Our Correspondent

A Delhi high court division bench of chief justice Rajendra Menon and justice Anup Bhambhani has dismissed a public-interest petition seeking a stay on the biopic, PM Narendra Modi.

The petition sought to delay or ban the film's release on its scheduled date of 5 April, citing the model code of conduct in place for the general election that is happening in April and May.

The biopic on incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi is directed by Omung Kumar, and features Vivek Anand Oberoi in the leading role. The film was initially scheduled for a 12 April release, before being advanced to 5 April. 

News channel Times Now reported that the Delhi high court dismissed the petition citing the pendency of another petition in the Bombay high court on the same issue.

The channel reported that the court observed that since the case is already subjudice before another court, it did not see it important to hold two hearings on the same matter. 

Would PM Narendra Modi fall foul of the Election Commission's model code of conduct?

PM Narendra Modi covers the journey of Modi's rise from his childhood to his election as the prime minister of India in 2014. 

The Election Commission on 27 March had sent a notice to the makers of the film, after opposition parties like the Congress, DMK, and CPI(M) questioned the timing of the film's release and said it was a violation of the model code of conduct.

The makers, however, denied that the film has any direct connection with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and thus, was not in violation of the rules. 

Earlier in March, an electoral officer of East Delhi had also filed a suo moto report against the makers of the film, and two national dailies, for carrying an advertisement which was viewed as a violation of the model code of conduct.

The petition in the Bombay high court was filed by a member of the Republican Party of India, Satish Gaikwad, who stated that the film's release would violate the model code of conduct, acting as an advertisement for a candidate of the party in power.

A bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice NM Jamdar had directed that a notice be issued to the Election Commission asking for an explanation and asked the makers of the film to file their replies by Monday, 1 April.