The Indore Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected the bail applications of comedian Munawar Faruqui and his aide Nalin Yadav after they were arrested earlier in January for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a comedy show.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court said today there was no evidence so far that he had not committed the crime. The court also observed that “investigations were on and more incriminating evidence could show up.”
Mr. Faruqui was arrested, along with other comedians, for allegedly insulting Hindu Gods and for making allegedly disparaging comments on senior politicians, according to the complaint registered by Eklavya Singh Gaur, the son of local BJP MLA and ex-Indore mayor Malini Gaur.
The bench said it is the constitutional duty of every citizen to promote brotherhood and harmony.
Munawar Faruqui and four other comedians were arrested on January 2 for alleged insult to Hindu gods and indecent comments on Home Minister Amit Shah.
Munawar Faruqui, Nalin Yadav, Edvin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, and Priyam Vyas were arrested on a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, the son of local BJP MLA and ex-Indore mayor Malini Gaur.
In the light of the statements of the complainant and the witnesses referred above, the seized articles, video footage of the show and the seizure memos detailed above, at this stage it is difficult to countenance to the submissions of the learned counsel for the applicant as complacency of the applicant cannot be ruled out, besides vulnerability of his acts in public domain,” said Justice Rohit Arya.
The High Court noted allegations in the complaint that Faruqui and the other comics were “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 was “nothing on record to the contrary”, the judge said.
“The evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organized 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,” said the court order.
Munawar Faruqui’s lawyer had argued that he had been invited by the organizers of the comedy show and was present but had not made any statement as was alleged.
But the court rejected it, saying the possibility of more “incriminating material” could not be ruled out as investigations were still on. It also referred to a similar case filed against the comic in Uttar Pradesh and his social media posts.
Justice Arya has also highlighted a “constitutional duty on every citizen and the state” to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood irrespective of religious, linguistic, sectional and regional diversities.
The charges against the five include “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings”, “deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings”, “negligent act likely to spread disease” and “disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant”.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius