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Delhi HC dismisses PIL seeking stay on Narendra Modi biopic till elections

A Delhi high court division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup Bhambhani has dismissed the PIL seeking a stay on the biopic, PM Narendra Modi. The PIL sought to delay or ban the film from releasing on its scheduled theatrical release day of 5 April, citing the model code of conduct in place during the general elections for the Lok Sabha in India. 

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 11 April release, before being preponed to 5 April. 

News channel Times Now reported that the Delhi HC dismissed the PIL citing another petition filed in the Bombay HC over the same issue. The channel reported that the court observed that since the case is already subjudice under 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 CPM questioned the timing of the film’s release as a violation of the model code of conduct. The makers, however, denied that the film has any direct relation with the official Bhartiya 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 PIL in the Bombay HC was filed by Republican Party of India member Satish Gaikwad stating that the film’s release would violate the model code of conduct, acting as an advertisement for a candidate of the party in power. The bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and NM Jamdar had directed a notice to the Election Commission asking for an explanation and asked the makers of the film to file their replies by Monday, 1 April. 

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