SC Grants Interim Bail to Munawar Faruqui, Stays UP Warrant
Justice Nariman-led bench also stays production warrant issued against comedian in Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court on Friday, 5 February, issued notice on the petitions filed by comedian Munawar Faruqui challenging the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s denial of bail to him, and arguing that his arrest is ‘a case of victimisation’.
The bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and BR Gavai granted ad interim bail to the comedian, with the trial court to decide on basic conditions for the same.
The order of the apex court noted the arguments by Faruqui’s lawyer Saurabh Kirpal, that the allegations in the FIR were “vague”, and that the procedure for arrest under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (as set out in the SC’s Arnesh Kumar judgment) had not been followed before his arrest.
The judges also agreed to grant Faruqui protection from arrest under the production warrants issued by a court in Uttar Pradesh, where an FIR had been filed against the comedian for a previous video in April/May 2020.
Justice Nariman during the hearing had said that if the case involved a violation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines on arrest in the Arnesh Kumar case, then “that would be enough” to ensure Faruqui was granted liberty.
Faruqui was arrested on 1 January on the basis of a complaint by the son of a BJP MLA in Indore. He was denied bail by the lower courts and then even by the MP High Court, in a controversial judgment on 28 January.
The judgment came in for criticism for failing to note any evidence of intent to hurt religious feelings as required under Section 295A, providing no cogent reasons for keeping Faruqui in custody, and for its reference to fundamental duties (which are not legally enforceable).
The Supreme Court has stayed this judgment by the high court’s Justice Rohit Arya, a significant move at such an early stage in the proceedings.
You can read the full order below:
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