The Supreme Court granted interim bail to a Muslim standup comedian, who was arrested for allegedly “insulting” Hindu Gods in a joke that police is yet to prove he had made, Munawar Faruqui.
The apex court was hearing Faruqui’s challenge to the Madhya Pradesh High Court order that had rejected his bail application on 28 January, reported Bar and Bench.
The bench also stayed the production warrant of Uttar Pradesh Police against Faruqui in a separate case. The Court issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government while observing that the law laid down by the Supreme Court in its 2014 judgment in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar was not followed and procedure under Section 41 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was not complied with, according to Bar and Bench.
The court’s order is primarily based on the ‘video footage’ produced by the prosecution and the statements made by witnesses before the police, reported The Quint. However, neither of these materials refer to the comic show that took place in Indore. On 15 January, Indore’s Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri told press that Faruqui didn’t make jokes on Hindu Gods, or even started his show, when he was arrested by the police.
The HC had said, “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.”