Stand up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who was put behind bars over allegations of "insulting Hindu Gods and Goddesses" during a show in Indore on January 1, was granted interim bail on Friday, February 5, by the Supreme Court, LiveLaw reported.
A bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai also granted Munawar interim protection from arrest and issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh police.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court's Indore Bench on Thursday, January 28, had rejected the bail applications filed by Munawar and co-accused Nalin Yadav.
Dismissing the applications, Justice Rohit Arya had observed that the evidence/material gathered so far suggested that the "show was organized under the garb of standup comedy at a public place on commercial lines. The show outraged the religious feelings of a particular section of the citizens of India."
"There is also a specific assertion by the learned counsel for the complainant that the applicant along with other co-accused persons allegedly making outraging filthy jokes in social media deliberately against Hindu Gods, Lord Shriram and Goddess Seeta hurting religious sentiments of Hindus for the last 18 months despite, protest on various social media platforms. There is nothing on record to the contrary," the Court had observed.
Munawar was arrested along with four others on January 1 for allegedly insulting and making indecent remarks on Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a New Year show in Indore.
The four others arrested include Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas, Nalin Yadav, and event coordinator Edwin Anthony.
The arrests were made based on a complaint filed at the Tukoganj police station, by Eklavya Singh Gaur, son of a local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur.
Additionally, the SHO of Tukojiganj police station Kamlesh Sharma had admitted that the police had not found any evidence against the comedian.
The Indore Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri also said that Munawar had not made any jokes about Hindu deities, or even begun his performance when he was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police. "The comedian was arrested only on the basis of claims made by a Hindutva vigilante group," the cop said.
Khatri said that the arrest was made on basis of a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, who said he had overheard jokes during rehearsal. However, the cop, said that the lack of video evidence "was not a concern".