A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai of Supreme Court granted ad-interim bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui in a case registered against him by the Madhya Pradesh Police for allegedly insulting religious sentiments.
The court stayed the production warrant of Uttar Pradesh Police against Munawar Faruqui in a separate case.
The Court issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government while observing that procedure under Section 41 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was not complied with. The court further stated “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.“
Earlier the MP HC while denying bail had stated that the State must endeavour to ensure that this “ecosystem and sustenance of coexistence in our welfare society is not polluted by negative forces and that there was prima facie evidence to suggest that the applicants had intended to outrage religious feelings “under the garb of standup comedy.”
Comedian Munawar Faruqui, a resident of Gujarat, was arrested on January 2 along with four others for allegedly making indecent remarks against Hindu deities and against Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show held at a cafe in 56 Dukan area of Indore on January 1.
The complaint was filed against them by Eklavya Singh Gaur (36), son of local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur. The other arrested persons were identified as Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas and Priyam Vyas. They were booked under sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
While dismissing the bail application, the court said that the evidence/material collected so far against the accused, suggest 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 intendment, were made by the applicants.
A single Judge bench of Justice Rohit Arya of Madhya Pradesh High Court had dismissed the bail plea moved by comedian Munawar Faruqui and Nalin Yadav accused of hurting religious sentiments. The Court concluded by saying, “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.“
Read the SC order here: