The Supreme Court on Monday transferred all FIRs against comedian Munawar Faruqui, lodged against him for allegedly making remarks on Hindu deities during a show and hurting religious sentiments, to Indore in Madhya Pradesh.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sanjay Karol also extended Faruqui’s interim protection for three weeks with regard to the production warrant in Delhi. The top court clarified that it has not commented on the merits of the plea for quashing and if any plea is filed, it shall be considered as per law on its merits.
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The apex court had on February 5, 2021 released Faruqui on an interim bail, staying the Madhya Pradesh High Court order under which he was refused release. Denying him bail, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had then noted that promoting harmony is one of the constitutional duties.
According to the FIR, the comedy show, where the remarks now under scrutiny were made, was held at a cafe in 56 Dukan area of Indore on January 1, 2021. Eklavya Singh Gaud, son of BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaud, had filed a complaint against Faruqui and others.
Gaud in his complaint said that he and some of his associates had gone to watch a show where jokes were made about Hindu gods and goddesses and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He then forced the organisers to stop the event.
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Faruqui and others were arrested for the alleged offences punishable under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 295-A, which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class.
They were also accused of holding the show amid COVID-19 pandemic without permission and were booked under other relevant provisions of the IPC.
(With Agency inputs)