Supreme Court: While answering a set of appeals filed by stand- up comedian Munawar Faruqui (appellant), to quash and set aside the First Information Reports (‘FIR’) and complaints registered against him filed at various places, a big relief was granted to Faruqui by the Division-Bench of B.R. Gavai and Sanjay Karol, JJ., wherein the appeals were allowed and the Court directed to club and transfer all the proceedings against him to Indore.
In January 2021, Faruqui was booked for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making comments on Hindu deities on his comedy show in Indore. Various FIRs and complaints were registered against him at Indore, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi for offences under Sections 295-A, 298, 269 and 188/34 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). He was in custody since 01-01-2021, when Supreme Court allowed his appeal and granted him ad-interim bail on 05-02-2021 and stayed Madhya Pradesh HC’s Judgment denying bail to Faruqui.
In the matter at hand, the appeals were sought to quash the FIRs against appellant, and the claim before the Court was restricted to clubbing of all the FIRs registered against him at various places.
The Court considered the facts and circumstances of the previous orders passed by the Court, and clubbed all the complaints against Faruqui and directed the transfer of all the pending proceedings to Indore. The Court noted that, the interim protection granted to Faruqui on 05-02-2021 has been for a period of more than two years, and there have been no allegations that he had misused the liberty granted to him. Thus, the Court made the previous interim bail order dated 05-02-2021 absolute.
Further, the Court clarified that the merits of the case concerning the quashing of the FIRs has not been considered. The Court said that the appellant will be at liberty to take recourse of the proceedings, as permissible in law.
The Court directed the Courts below to decide the proceedings before them, on its own merits and in accordance with law.
[Munawar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 493, decided on 24-04-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Appellant: Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhary, Advocate on Record Anzu K. Varkey, Advocate Rishi Sehgal, Advocate Keshavam Chaudhari, Advocate Arveen Sekhon, Advocate Prabhneer Swami, Advocate Hargun Sandhu;
For the Respondent: Deputy Attorney General Ankita Choudhary, Advocate on Record Pashupathi Nath Razdan, Advocate Mirza Kayesh Begg, Advocate Maitreyee Jagat Joshi, Advocate Astik Gupta, Advocate Ayushi Mittal, Advocate Kuldeep Kumar Shukla, Advocate Vipul Abhishek, Additional Advocate General Ardhendhumauli Kumar Prashad, Advocate on Record Adarsh Upadhyay, Advocate Aishwarya Pathak, Advocate Aman Pathak, Advocate Ashish Madaan, Advocate Shreya Srivastava, Advocate Pallavi Kumari, Advocat Ananya Sahu, Advocat Samrat Krishnarao Shinde, Advocate Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Advocate on Record Aaditya Aniruddha Pande, Advocate Bharat Bagla, Advocate Sourav Singh.