The bail hearing of comedian Munawar Faruqui, who was arrested over alleged "indecent" remarks made against Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show in Indore earlier this month, was adjourned by the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday after the police failed to produce the case diary. The bail pleas of Mr Faruqui and four other stand-up comedians who have been arrested in this case, have already been rejected by lower courts.
Munawar Faruqui's lawyer Anshuman Shrivastav alleged that this was a tactic used by the police to harass Mr Faruqui. The bail plea will now be heard next week.
"We had moved the bail applications on behalf of Munawar Faruqui and Nalin Yadav and the matter was listed for hearing before the high court. Senior Supreme Court lawyer and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha appeared on behalf of the bail applicants. But since the local police could not produce the case diary, the hearing in the matter was adjourned for next week," Mr Shrivastav told NDTV.
"Personally, I believe that it is negligence on the part of the police that they could not produce the case diary on time. We had requested the high court to direct the police to produce the case diary today, particularly since the Tukoganj police station (where the case is lodged) is located right opposite the court. But since the matter was already adjourned, the high court listed it for hearing on the next date after a week," he added.
Mr Faruqui and four other stand-up comedians were arrested on January 1 for allegedly insulting Hindu gods and violating Covid-19 protocol at a New Year event.
Munawar Faruqui, Nalin Yadav, Edvin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, and Priyam Vyas were arrested on the complaint by the head of a local outfit, Eklvaya Singh Gaur, who is also the son of local BJP MLA and ex-Indore mayor Malini Gaur. They were later sent to judicial custody until January 13.
The members of his organisation, Hind Rakshak group, alleged that the comedians made insulting remarks about Hindu gods and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The five have been charged under relevant section of the Indian Penal Code for "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings", "deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings", "negligent act likely to spread disease", "disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant" and "common intention".
Meanwhile, Mr Faruqui has also been asked to appear before a UP court in an April 2020 case lodged against him in Prayagraj, an Indore Police source confirmed to NDTV.
The case in UP is also related to insulting remarks made about Hindu deities Ram and Sita and linking Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the 2002 Godhra violence.