The Supreme Court will on Friday hear the plea filed by stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, challenging the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s January 28 order denying him bail, reported Live Law. The comedian is accused of insulting Hindu deities during a show.
Faruqui has also filed a writ petition against the Madhya Pradesh Police’s first information report. Both these petitions will be jointly considered by a bench of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai.
Faruqui has been in jail since January 1 for his alleged comments, even though the police have said there was no electronic evidence and that the complaint was filed based on hearsay.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has repeatedly denied him bail despite the lack of evidence against him. On January 28, the High Court had rejected his bail plea, concluding that there was prima facie evidence to suggest that Faruqui had intended to outrage religious feelings.
“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 applicant,” Justice Rohit Arya said.
Earlier, his bail plea was rejected on January 5 and January 2 as well.
Faruqui was arrested on the basis of a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, chief of Hindutva group Hind Rakshak Sangathan. Gaur is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Malini Gaur.
On January 4, the Indore Police had said that there was no visual evidence to show that Faruqui had insulted Hindu deities. Along with Faruqui, four others – Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas – were also arrested on similar charges. A day later, Faruqui’s friend Sadaqat Khan was arrested for allegedly making abusive remarks about Gaur.
Indore Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri had said that Faruqui had not made any jokes about Hindu deities, or even begun his performance and he was arrested on the basis of Gaur’s claims that he had overheard jokes during rehearsal.