‘Such people mustn’t be spared’, says MP HC judge on comic Faruqui
- “It is obvious to me that freedom of speech and expression is seriously compromised in this country,” former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Indira Jaising said.
The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court on Monday reserved its order on the bail application of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who was arrested in Indore on January 1 on charges of hurting religious sentiments and violating Covid-19 protocol during a New Year event.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rohit Arya asked how someone could “take undue advantage of others’ religious sentiments”. “What is wrong with your mindset?” he asked.
He said he was reserving the order on merits, after observing that “such people must not be spared.”
MP additional advocate general, Pushya Mitra Bhargava, said, “We have opposed the bail prayer. All our opposition has been considered.”
Faruqui was arrested on January 1 on the complaint of Hindu Rakshak Sangathan convener Eklavya Singh Gaud, who is also a son of a BJP MLA, Malini Singh Gaud, in Indore just before he was about to start his performance at a restaurant. He has been in jail since. The bail plea was moved by Supreme Court senior advocate, Vivek Tankha, and advocate Anshuman Srivastava on behalf of Faruqui and a co-accused Nalin Yadav on Monday. The order on Yadav’s application was also reserved.
Tankha told the court that Faruqui has committed no offence in the case registered against him by Indore police. Srivastava said: “Police also accepted before the court that they didn’t find any evidence.” Government lawyer Amit Singh Sisodia, though, pointed to “objectionable comments” made by Faruqui in the past.
“It is obvious to me that freedom of speech and expression is seriously compromised in this country,” former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Indira Jaising said.
“Artists are not bound by the religious boundaries and that has been the beauty of art in the world. The Hon’ble judge viewing Munawar as a Muslim and not as an artist is being ignorant of the neutrality of artists who exercise their right of expression for or against anyone and everyone,” advocate Mehmood Pracha said.
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