Stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui, in jail for over a month over his art performances, was granted interim bail today by the Supreme Court, which also issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government and put on hold a warrant against him in Uttar Pradesh.
Issuing notice to Madhya Pradesh on the comedian’s request that the FIR (First Information Report) against him be cancelled, the Supreme Court agreed with his lawyer that procedure was not followed.
Faruqui’s lawyer had argued that a person cannot be arrested without a magistrate’s order or a warrant, which is stated in Section 41 of the Criminal code.
Faruqui, performing artist Nalin Yadav and three others were arrested on the complaint of a Hindu fringe group Hind Rakshak Sangathan (HRS) leader and son of a BJP MLA that “indecent” remarks were made against Hindu deities and Home Minister Amit Shah during a show held in Indore in Madhya Pradesh. However, police later admitted that Faruqui had not made any statements. His arrest, police say, was based on “oral evidence” given by the local Hindutva leader who claimed to have “overheard” Faruqui rehearsing jokes that he was “going to” say in his act.
The comedian has been a target of Hindutva groups since last year when one of his shows got viral for its sharp comments.
Faruqui had also been roughed up by the members of the fringe group Hind Rakshak Sangathan, who forcefully took him to the Tukoganj police station along with the organisers of the event.
Munawar Faruqui had been denied bail thrice before.