Indore: The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday dismissed the bail applications of standup comedians Munawar Faruqui and Nalin Yadav for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Hindus during a comedy show in Indore on January 1.
The duo, along with a few other individuals had been arrested following a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaud, son of former Mayor Malni Gaud. He had alleged that the comedians had cracked jokes about Hindu gods and goddesses during the show.
Justice Rohit Arya said, “The evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organized public show under the garb of standup comedy at a public place 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 applicants.”
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The judge also observed: “There is also a specific assertion by the 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.”
However, the court said the prosecution is required to establish that the intention of the accused to outrage religious feelings was malicious, deliberate and directed to a class of persons and not merely to an individual.
While dismissing the application, the court noted, “Be that as it may, this court refrains from commenting upon contentions of the parties touching on merits but, regard being had to the material seized and the statements of the witnesses and that the investigation is in progress, no case is made out for grant of bail.”
The court, however, said that the observations, if any made in the order on facts are only for the purpose of deciding these bail applications and shall have no bearing on pending trial.
States must ensure sustenance of coexistence not polluted by negative forces
Before parting with the case, the court noted that it is considered apposite to observe that our country is a beautiful country and sets an example of coexistence amid diversities; be it religion, language, culture, geographical locations etc to the world at large.
“Mutual respect, faith and trust amongst all citizens of India are basic tenets of coexistence, in a welfare society governed by the principles of rule of law. It is the constitutional duty of every citizen of the country and also of the States to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India irrespective of religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture (Article 15A (e) and (f) of the Constitution of India.
“States must endeavour that ecosystem and sustenance of coexistence in our welfare society is not polluted by negative forces and must strive for achievement of goals as enshrined under Article 51A(e) and (f) of the Constitution of India in particular as these provisions are part of our vibrant Constitution and not dead letters,” the court said.
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