The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui. The 29-year-old stand-up comedian has been behind bars for over a month for allegedly insulting Hindu Gods and Goddesses during a show at a café in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.
The apex court also sought a reply from the Madhya Pradesh government on the comedian’s plea for quashing of the FIR registered against him. The top court also stayed a warrant issued against Faruqui in Uttar Pradesh.
While granting interim bail, the apex court bench of Justice Rohington Nariman agreed to the contention raised by Faruqui’s counsel that the MP administration did not follow procedures for arresting the comedian. The court also remarked that the FIR registered against him was “vague”.
Munawar Faruqui denied bail thrice
Earlier, Munawar Faruqui had been denied bail on three occasions, with the Madhya Pradesh High Court denying him bail on January 28.
In its order, the high court had said it would not comment on the merits of the case, but based on the material seized, the witnesses’ statements and considering the fact that probe was going on, no case was made out for grant of bail.
“The evidence/material collected so far suggests that in an organized public show under the garb of stand-up 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 intent, were made by the applicant,” it had said.
There was a possibility that “more incriminating material” would be collected, and further, a similar case has been registered against Faruqui in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, the high court had noted.
Arrested on January 2
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.
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