Munawar Faruqui, the stand-up comedian who was arrested on January 1 while performing at a show in Indore, was granted interim bail after 35 days by the Supreme Court on Friday, Bar and Bench reported.
Faruqui was granted interim bail on the grounds that there was no video or material evidence proving that he had made derogatory remarks on Hindu deities that could hurt religious sentiments.
A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai also stayed the production warrant in a case registered against Faruqui at Uttar Pradesh seeking his custody for statements made by him in May 2020.
Faruqui’s bail plea was rejected four times on the basis of “hurting” religious sentiments.
On January 1, when Faruqui got up on the stage to perform at the show in Indore’s Monroe Cafe, local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur’s son Aklavya Gaur Singh, who claims to be the head of a youth organisation named Hind Rakshak, went on stage and along with his associates disrupted the show. The comedian along with the audience who raised their voice against him was manhandled.
In his complaint against Faruqui, he claimed that he has video evidence of Faruqui cracking jokes on Hindu deities, Godhra riots and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
A case was initially filed against Faruqui’s performance on the basis of a video evidence that Aklavya Gaur Singh claimed to have submitted. However, the thana incharge of Tukoganj police station, where Faruqui was initially taken in custody, said that the video consisted of old videos of the comedian from his YouTube channel. Aklavya Singh Gaur then claimed that he overheard Faruqui’s rehearsal jokes and that he was “going to” perform them.
There is no electronic evidence for the claim, Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri had said. While Faruqui made no such jokes, there was “oral evidence” from the complainant, Khatri had added.
On January 15, when his bail plea was denied for the third time, the hearing was postponed as the police could not produce the case diary in the court and his judicial custody was extended.