Comedian Munawar Faruqui, languishing in an Indore jail for over a month on charges of allegedly hurting religious sentiments, has been granted interim bail by the Supreme Court which also issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh government on his plea challenging the high court’s order refusing to grant regular bail to him.
The court agreed with Faruqui’s lawyer that procedure was not followed when he argued a person cannot be arrested without a magistrate’s order or a warrant. It said it is issuing notice to MP government on the comedian’s request that the First Information Report (FIR) against him be cancelled.
The proceedings of the case were conducted via video conferencing by a bench headed by Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai, which also stayed the production warrant issued against Faruqui in a separate case field in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Faruqui and four others were arrested on January 1 after a BJP MLA’s son filed a complaint accusing the comedian of making objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year’s day. One more person was arrested subsequently.
The high court, in its order passed on January 28, had refused to grant him bail noting that to “promote harmony” is one of the constitutional duties. The 29-year-old comedian had been denied bail thrice since his arrest last month.
(With inputs from agencies)