Supreme Court grants interim bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui
The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui, who is accused of hurting religious sentiments by allegedly passing objectionably remarks about Hindu deities during a show, on a petition challenging the rejection of his bail by Madhya Pradesh High Court. A bench of Justice RF Nariman and Justice BR Gavai also stayed the production warrant in a case against him in Uttar Pradesh.
Faruqui had alleged in his petition that the police did not follow the procedure for arrest as laid down by the top court in its 2014 decision in Arnesh Kumar vs the State of Bihar. As per this decision, the arrest should be preceded by initial investigations by the police officer to assess the genuineness of the complaint.
The 2014 decision also said that proper facts and reasons should be presented before a magistrate by the officer within 24 hours of the arrest. The magistrate, in turn, is to be satisfied that the condition precedent for arrest under Section 41 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been satisfied and it is only thereafter that he will authorise the detention of an accused.
Faruqui and four others were arrested on January 1 following a complaint by the son of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, alleging he had passed objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union home minister Amit Shah during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year's Day. One more person was arrested after that.
The high court, in its order passed on January 28, had refused to grant him bail noting that to "promote harmony" is one of the constitutional duties. It had also turned down the bail plea of another accused in the case.
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