Decided on January 28,2021

Munnawar S/O Iqbal Faruqui Appellant


ROHIT ARYA, J. - (1.) Both Mis. Cr. Cases Nos.2206/2021 and 2213/2021 arise out of common order passed by First Additional Sessions Judge, Indore dismissing their bail application. As both the cases arise out of common order, they are being disposed of by this singular order. For the sake of convenience, the facts of Mis. Cr. Case No.2206/2021 have been considered. This is the first bail application under Section 439 of Cr.P.C., for grant of bail filed on behalf of the applicant. The applicant is in custody since 01/01/2021 in connection with crime No.02/2021 registered at Police Station Tukoganj, Indore, District Indore for the offence punishable under sections 295A, 298, 269 and 188/34 IPC.
(2.) As per prosecution case, the complainant Eklavya Singh Gaud has filed a written complaint and based on the same, offence punishable under sections 295A, 298, 269, 188/34 IPC was registered against Sadakat Khan, Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas, Nalin Yadav (organizer of the show), and Munnawar Faruqui. The complainant in the complaint has alleged in the complaint that he is custodian of Hindu Protection Congregation (Sanghatan). On 01/01/20201, a standup comedy show was organized at Munro Cafe, (56 Shops) Indore without obtaining permission and also without following the guidelines of Covid-19, like social distancing, etc., It is further alleged that the complaint alongwith his friends went to watch the said comedy show. In the comedy show, the comedians were cutting filthy and indecent jokes deliberately on Hindu religion Gods and Goddesses and BJP National President, Amit Shah. As a result, the comedians hurt and outraged religious sentiments of the complainant. After the registration of FIR, the accused persons have been arrested and produced before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Indore. An application under section 437 Cr.P.C., filed by them has been rejected by the Magistrate on 02/01/2021 and bail application filed under section 439 Cr.P.C., has also been rejected by the Court below by the impugned order. The accused pleaded that they are innocent and the case has been registered in a fraudulent manner against them. They have conducted a comedy show but, they have not committed any act which may hurt religious sentiments of any person. The ingredients of section 295A IPC are not attracted. The cutting of jokes on political leaders will not attract any offence, in view of Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India, as it enshrines freedom of speech and expression. The applicants are artists who cut jokes to make laughter and entertainment of the general public and they have no intention to hurt religious feelings of any person of the society. Even otherwise, the offence is triable by Judicial Magistrate First Class and the maximum punishment for the offence is three years, therefore, there is no necessity of their judicial remand.
(3.) Learned counsel for the applicant further submits that the applicant is innocent and he has been falsely implicated in the crime. In Mis. Cr. Case No.11891/2018 (Deepak Nagle Vs. State of M.P.,) on 04/04/2018 & M.Cr.C.No.32895/2020 (Krishnakumar Sastri Vs. State of M.P.) on 14/09/2020, the Hon'ble High Court at Main Seat Jabalpur has granted interim protection to the applicants under section 438 Cr.P.C. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni Vs. Yerraguntla Shyamsundar and another, 2017 (7) SCC 60 has held that every act of insult to religion offered unwittingly or carelessly or without any deliberate or malicious intention to outrage the religious feelings of that class will not fall in the domain of section 295A IPC. The applicant has no criminal antecedents. The applicant is in jail incarceration since 01/01/2021. Due to Covid-19, the trial is not likely to conclude in the near future. Under such circumstances, the applicant deserves to be enlarged on bail on such terms and conditions, Hon'ble Court deems fit and proper.;

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