The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, saying that the procedure of the notice before his arrest was not followed. The Supreme Court also said that the FIR was vague.
Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui. (Photo: Instagram/munawar.faruqui)
The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, saying that the procedure of the notice before his arrest was not followed while pointing out that the FIR against the comedian was “vague”. Munawar Faruqui has been lodged in jail since January 2 on the allegations that he made “indecent” remarks about Hindu deities during a gig at a cafe in Indore.
“Is it correct that the Arnesh Kumar judgment rules have not been followed before arresting him? That’s enough. Quite apart from the fact that the allegations contained in the FIR are quite vague, the procedure set down in our judgment has not been followed,” Justice RF Nariman said.
The Supreme Court also put a stay on the production warrant issued against comedian Munawar Faruqui in case lodged in UP for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. A notice has also been issued to Madhya Pradesh Police on the bail plea filed by Munawar Faruqui. Munawar Faruqui moved the Supreme Court for bail late on Thursday.
Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested on January 2 following a complaint by a BJP MLA’s son that objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were passed during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year’s day. One more person was arrested subsequently.
Faruqui and Nalin Yadav are in judicial remand and lodged in Indore Central Jail. A magistrate’s court and a sessions court rejected their bail pleas, following which they moved the high court. In its order, the high court said it would not comment on merits of the case, but based on the material seized, the witnesses’ statements and considering the fact that probe was going on, no case is made out for grant of bail
On January 28, rejecting the bail pleas of the comedian and his co-accused Nalin Yadav, the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had observed that the evidence collected till now shows that “outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment” were made by the applicants.
“The evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organized public show under the garb of standup comedy at a public place on commercial lines, prima facie; scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment, were made by the applicants.”
A single-judge bench of justice Rohit Arya observed that “be that as it may, this Court refrains from commenting upon contentions of the parties touching on merits but, regard being had to the material seized and the statements of the witnesses and that the investigation is in progress, no case is made out for grant of bail”.
Dismissing the bail applications, the High Court had observed: “There is also a specific assertion by the learned counsel for the complainant that the applicant along with other co-accused persons allegedly making outraging filthy jokes in social media deliberately against Hindu Gods, Lord Shriram and Goddess Seeta hurting religious sentiments of Hindus for the last 18 months despite, protest on various social media platforms. There is nothing on record to the contrary.”
The court also observed that “In the light of the statements of the complainant and the witnesses referred above, the seized articles, viz., video footage of the show and the seizure memos detailed above, at this stage, it is difficult to countenance to the submissions of the learned counsel for the applicant as complacency of the applicant cannot be ruled out, besides vulnerability of his acts in the public domain.”
The court, however, clarified that ‘the observations, if any made in the order on facts, are only for the purpose of deciding these bail applications and shall have no bearing on the pending trial.”
The Sessions Court had earlier denied bail to the accused.