The bail plea of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was reserved by the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday.
According to the Live Law, the single-judge bench of Justice Rohit Arya posed questions on Faruqui’s “mindset” behind his alleged jokes. “Why [do] you take undue advantage of other’s religious sentiments and emotions,” he said, “What is wrong with your mindset? How can you do this for the purpose of your business?”
The bench expressed a disinclination towards entertaining the application, according to LiveLaw and asked Faruqui’s advocate Vivek Tankha if he wanted to withdraw the bail application. However, the lawyer argued that his client had not committed any offence and bail should be granted. “He has committed no offence in the matter your lordships. Bail should be granted", Tankha submitted.
Some intervenors, however, pointed to several posts made by Faruqui on social media in which he allegedly made derogatory statements about Hindu gods. The intervenors also pointed out that these posts were over 18 months old. Another lawyer also accused Faruqui of making “objectionable statements” against Ram and Sita, according to LiveLaw.
“Such people must not be spared. I will reserve the order on merits”, Justice Rohit Arya observed. He then asked those objecting to the bail application to file supporting evidence and reserved his order. The judge also reserved orders in the bail application of a co-accused, Nalin Yadav.
Background On Munawar Faruqui ‘s Arrest
Munawar Faruqui was arrested by Madhya Pradesh’s Indore Police on 2 January, His show had been interrupted by BJP MLA Malini Gaur’s son Eklavya Singh Gaur. The 28 year old comedian had not spoken on this show yet, when Gaur interrupted and started to threaten him should he spoke against the Hindu deities.
“Munawar got to the stage, but the show never began. Munawar had barely spoken for seven minutes, when we were told that the show will not happen and we were told to leave,” one of the audience members, requesting anonymity, told Firstpost. Faruqui and five others were arrested on charges under Section 295-A (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), 269 (negligent act likely to cause spread of disease), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC by January 3. The other arrested persons were identified as Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Nalin Yadav and Priyam Vyas.