On Thursday, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed the bail applications filed by stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and co-accused Nalin Yadav, who have been reportedly arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during their comic show.
The bench headed by Justice Rohit Arya has while dismissing the bail application stated that “No case is made out for the grant of bail. We are not commenting on the merits of the case as the investigation was in progress. However, the materials collected so far suggested prima facie commission of the offense.”
“The evidence/material collected so far, 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. Furthermore, the court while dismissing the bail applications 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,” stated Justice Arya.
Further, while rejecting the submissions by Faruqui’s counsels that though he was present on the spot at the show, he didn’t utter anything as alleged in the FIR, the HC held “at this stage, it is difficult to countenance the submissions of the learned counsel for the applicant, as the complacency of the applicant cannot be ruled out, besides vulnerability of his acts in the public domain. It is not a case of no evidence.”
Justice Rohit Arya observed in the ten-page order, “It is the Constitutional duty on every citizen of the country and the States to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood irrespective of religious, linguistic, sectional and regional diversities and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture under (Article 51A(e) and (f) of the Constitution).
Faruqui, a resident of Gujarat, was arrested on 2 January 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.
Police had booked five accused 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.