The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to stand -up comedian Munawar Faruqui who was jailed over the allegations of insulting Hindu gods and goddesses in one of his shows. He had approached the top court as he was denied bail thrice.
Faruqui had filed a writ petition as well as a Special Leave to Appeal (SLP), and both were heard by a bench of Justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai. The top court also issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government.
Faruqui had challenged the Madhya Pradesh High Court order in which it had rejected his bail plea and refused to grant him bail on January 28.
The 32-year-old comedian and four others were arrested on January 2 after a complaint by a BJP MLA’s son Eklvaya Singh Gaur alleged that the comedian made objectionable remarks on Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a show in Indore on New Year’s day. According to the complaint, all of them were accused of making filthy and indecent jokes on Hindu gods and goddesses and booked under IPC Section 295A (outraging religious feelings) and other counts.
His counsel, senior advocate Vivek Tankha had argued that he had not spoken any word that would hurt anybody’s religious feelings.
Hearing the case, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh HC had observed that the evidence/material collected so far suggest that in an organised 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.
The apex court also stayed a production warrant issued against him by the Allahabad court in a case of the alleged derogatory depiction of Hindu deities by him on social media.