HC reserves order on jailed comedian Faruqui's bail plea

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Indore, Jan 25 (PTI) The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday reserved its order on the bail application of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, arrested on charges of making objectionable comments against Hindu deities during a show here.

The comedian (32) is in judicial custody and lodged at Indore Central Jail since January 1, when he was arrested by the police following a complaint against him filed by Eklavya Singh Gaud (36), son of local BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaud.

Justice Rohit Arya reserved his order on the bail application after hearing the arguments of both the petitioner and prosecution for around 30 minutes via video conferencing.

The court also asked the prosecution and two local advocates opposing Faruquis bail to furnish documents relating to the case.

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, appearing for Faruqui, contested the charge against his client under IPC section 295A (outraging religious feelings).

He argued that the comedian, a resident of Junagadh in Gujarat, had not spoken any word that would hurt anybodys religious feeling during the show on January 1 at a cafe in the city.

However, the complainant created a furore on the dais and got the function stopped mid-way, said Tankha.

Government advocate Amit Singh Sisodia opposed Faruquis bail plea.

Local advocates Rajesh Joshi and Manish Gupta, too, opposed bail to the comedian, contending he has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.

They argued that the comedian, during his shows in the past as well, had made objectionable comments against Hindu God and Goddesses and such remarks of his have come to light on online platforms.

The comedian moved the High Court after lower courts turned down his bail pleas.

Besides Faruqui, four other persons associated with organising the show were booked under IPC section 295A (outraging religious feelings) and other counts.

According to the complainant, indecent statements were made at the show against Hindu deities, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the 2002 Godhra incident.

All the accused were booked under IPC sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and other relevant provisions. PTI HWP LAL RSY RSY