The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui and also stayed the production warrant issued by the Uttar Pradesh Police. The comedian has been in a Madhya Pradesh jail since 1 January for allegedly cracking jokes on Hindu deities. But, the Indore Police have gone on record admitting that there was no evidence of the 29-year-old comedian from Gujarat cracking jokes hurting the sentiments of Hindus.
According to the Bar and Bench website, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai also 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. The Bench also sought to know from Faruqui’s lawyer if the procedure under Section 41 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was complied with.
The comedian’s lawyer, Gaurav Kirpal, said that it wasn’t his client was being victimised. The Bench then replied, “If that is not followed, then it is good enough.”
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Kirpal also sought protection from the production warrant issued by the UP Police. To which, Justice Nariman said, “Alright” saying that the protection had been granted and stayed the production warrant issued by the UP Police. It was feared that the UP ;Police were determined to arrest him in a separate case even if the Supreme Court granted bail to Faruqui.
Faruqui was arrested in Indore on 1 January after a son of a local BJP MLA created a ruckus even before the comedian could start his performance. He was arrested along with other associates. The comedian from Gujarat has been in jail for more than a month, but the Madhya Pradesh High Court judge felt that the ‘evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organized public show under the garb of standup comedy on commercial lines, prima facie scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India were made.’