As declared by the I&B Ministry today, this is to protect the integrity of the awards from the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha Elections.
“Since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force, which facilitates level playing field to all political parties and the candidates and 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 election process, it has been decided to declare the awards after the election process is over and the MCC concludes,” the statement said.
The MCC comes into force as soon as the election schedule is announced and remains in force till election results are declared. The results for the Lok Sabha polls will be announced on 23 May. So it is to assume that the jury will be declared in June 2019 and the awards thereafter.
However, it is to note that during the 2014 General Elections, the 61st National Film Awards were announced as per schedule on 16 April 2014, and were presented on their usual annual ceremony date, 3 May, during the election period. 3 May is a symbolic date, commemorating the release of the first Indian feature film, Raja Harishchandra, directed by Dadasaheb Phalke. The code was in effect in 2014 too, but the introduction of a new category this year for ‘Best Film Friendly State’ has its part to play.
The winners of last year included the late Vinod Khanna for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and Rima Das for Best Feature Film for Village Rockstars.