The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday reserved order on the bail plea of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui who was arrested last month over alleged indecent remarks against Hindu deities during a show.
According to LiveLaw, a single-judge bench of Justice Rohit Arya questioned why Faruqui takes "undue advantage of others religious sentiments".
"But why you take undue advantage of other's religious sentiments and emotions. What is wrong with your mindset? How can you do this for the purpose of your business?" the report quoted the bench as saying.
As per the report, the bench asked Faruqui's lawyer Vivek Tankha if he wanted to withdraw the bail application, to which Tankha replied that Faruqui had not committed any offence and bail should be granted.
The 32-year-old comedian, in judicial custody, has been lodged at Indore Central Jail since 1 January, 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.
According to news agency PTI, Tankha contested the charge against his client under Section 295A (outraging religious feelings) of the IPC and argued that the comedian, a resident of Junagadh in Gujarat, had not spoken any word that would hurt anybody religious feeling during the 1 January show at a cafe in the city.
Tankha alleged that the complainant created a furore on the dais and got the event stopped mid-way.
According to Bar&Bench, an objection was also raised to the Uttar Pradesh Police seeking Faruqui's custody in relation to comments allegedly made during another show in May 2020.
According to PTI, government advocate Amit Singh Sisodia opposed Faruqui's bail plea. Local advocates Rajesh Joshi and Manish Gupta, too, opposed bail to the comedian, contending that he has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
According to LiveLaw, Gupta alleged that Faruqui has posted several videos in the past on social media that insulted Hindu deities. He submitted that the comedian repeated the remarks in three different shows.
"This has led to other comedians making such remarks about Hindu gods. This is happening with 70 percent of the comedians", the report quotes him as saying.
When the bench asked other counsels objecting to the bail plea, Sisodia referred to other alleged objectionable statements made by Faruqui against Lord Ram and Sita, LiveLaw reported.
Justice 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.
"Such people must not be spared. I will reserve the order on merits," the LiveLaw report quotes the judge as saying. The judge also reserved orders in the bail application of a co-accused, Nalin Yadav.
The court also asked the prosecution and two local advocates opposing Faruqui's bail to furnish documents relating to the case. The court is expected to pass the order over the next two or three days, reported The Indian Express, quoting Faruqui and Yadav's advocate.
The bail pleas of Farquqi and other accused have been rejected two times by lower courts. On 15 January, the high court had adjourned the bail application after the police failed to produce the case diary, as per a Bar&Bench report.
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.
With inputs from PTI