Munawar Faruqui Case: MP HC Grants Interim Bail To Nalin, Sadaqat
Justice Rohit Arya granted bail to Yadav and Khan in light of maintaining parity with the SCs judgement on Faruqui.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has granted ad-interim bail to Nalin Yadav and Sadaqat Khan on Friday, 26 February. The two were arrested along with comedian Munawar Faruqui, who following a month-long incarceration, was granted ad interim bail on 5 February by the Supreme Court.
Justice Rohit Arya granted bail to both Yadav and Khan today, in light of maintaining parity with the Supreme Court’s judgement on Faruqui.
Granting bail to Sadaqat Khan, Justice Arya in his order wrote:
“Shri Warasi, learned counsel for the applicant submits that the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 5 February granted ad-interim bail to the main accused Munawar Faruqui... Learned counsel further submits that in light of the order passed by Hon’ble Supreme court... this Court has enlarged the co-accused Prakhar Vyas and Adwin Anthony on temporary bail on 12 February.”
The order further noted that the counsel sought bail for Khan “who is accused in the same case may also be extended the benefit of temporary bail on the ground of parity.”
Subsequently, Justice Arya said that Khan was “held entitled for temporary bail maintaining parity in the light of” the Supreme Court’s decision on Faruqui’s bail.
Justice Rohit Arya had previously granted interim bail to two of Faruqui’s co-accused in the case, Prakhar Vyas and Edwin Anthony, where the Bench, on 12 February had said they were “entitled for temporary bail maintaining parity in the light of the order dated 5 February 2021, passed by the Supreme Court.”
Stand-up comedian Munawar was detained from Indore on 1 January and subsequently arrested by the MP Police on charges of ‘outraging religious feelings’ on the basis of a complaint registered by BJP MLA Malini Gaur’s son Eklavya Singh Gaur. Gaur is also the local convenor of a pro-Hindutva outfit called the Hindu Rakshak.
It is important to mention that Faruqui’s performance had not yet begun and that the police told media houses that they did not have any video evidence of Faruqui insulting any Gods from the particular event.
While Munawar, comic Prakhar Vyas, Pratik Vyas, Edwin Anthony, and Nalin Yadav were detained on 1 January and arrested on 2 January, Sadakat was detained and arrested on 2 January. He was not named in the FIR and was arrested on the accusation of being a co-organiser of the event.
On 2 January, an FIR had been registered by Madhya Pradesh Police against all six men on charges of Section 295-A (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), 269 (negligent act likely to cause spread of disease), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Why Nalin Yadav, Sadaqat Khan Were Denied Bail Earlier
On 28 January, Justice Rohit Arya of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had rejected the bail application of Munawar Faruqui and Nalin Yadav.
The High Court at the time had held that no case for bail had been made out, and that:
“The evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organised public show under the garb of standup comedy on commercial lines, prima facie; scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment, were made by the applicant.”
However, soon after, on 5 February, Faruqui was granted ad interim bail by the apex court, which took note of his lawyers’ arguments that relevant guidelines for arrests laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Supreme Court’s Arnesh Kumar judgment, had not been followed.
That bail order, though, was seemingly of no consequence to the District and Sessions Court, Indore, which rejected Khan’s second bail plea on 9 February, saying:
“It cannot be said that the circumstances have changed just because the co-accused Munawar Faruqui has been granted interim bail by the apex court.”
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