NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday said it cannot pass an order at this stage on a plea seeking stay on the release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Censor Board is yet to certify the film.
The apex court said it will hear the matter Tuesday and could possibly pass an order if the petitioner brings on record that what the film depicts is highly objectionable.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused the plea of the petitioner, Congress activist Aman Panwar, that the copy of the film should be given to him.
“Why should we direct that individual be given a copy of the film,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
“We fail to understand why such a direction be given,” the bench said.
At the outset, the CJI said the film is not yet certified and referred to April 4 statement by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Prasoon Joshi given to PTI about it.
Joshi had told PTI that the film was undergoing due process of examination and certification.
“Since there are a lot of queries around the certification of the film, (I) would like to give a clear picture: the film is going through the due process of examination and certification according to the requisite guidelines and is yet to be certified as the process is not complete at this point,” Joshi had said.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Congress activist, said the producer Sandip Ssingh had come out with a statement that the biopic would be released on April 11.
Taking note of his submission, the bench said the producer may have come out with such a statement on release of the biopic on April 11 anticipating that the film would get the certification from the Censor Board.
The bench said as of now there is no cause of action for challenging release of the film.
When Singhvi repeated for further stay on the biopic, the bench said, “How can we stop the release of the film. It is not yet certified. There is only a statement from the producer for its release.”
Singhvi submitted that there was no level playing field and allowing the release of the film would be a direct assault on the structure of the Constitution.
However, the bench said it cannot decide on the grievances raised by the petitioner as it did not know what was there in the film.
Singhvi also submitted that the judges themselves can see the film in advance to decide and decide the matter.
He said the lead actor, Vivek Oberoi, has been named as the star campaigner for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
His father, who was also an actor, is a cardholder of BJP.
“You have the power to call for the screening of the movie,” the senior advocate told the bench.
National Desk Report-GT