In a huge reprieve to BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to her in connection with Mamata Banerjee’s viral meme case. The top court modified its order and now Sharma will be released immediately. The apex court said that Sharma should apologise after her release.
Earlier, the court had set a condition for her apology. "Freedom of speech is non-negotiable but should it be allowed to violate somebody else's rights?" questioned Justice Indira Banerjee. The Apex Court also criticised the meme, saying it is wrong to superimpose somebody's face like this. Setting the condition, the top court had said if Priyanka Sharma tenders her apology in writing, she will be released on bail. However, the order was modified later.
Raj Kumari Sharma, Priyanka’s mother said that, “I can't express how happy I am. I am awaiting my daughter's return.” Priyanka Sharma was accused of sharing a photo in which Mamata Banerjee's face has been photoshopped on the form of actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the MET Gala in New York on her Facebook timeline. She was picked up by the police from her home.
A vacation bench, comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, on Monday took note of the plea of advocate NK Kaul, representing the activist, that the issue of her arrest be accorded urgent hearing. “We will hear the bail plea of BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma on Tuesday,” the bench had said.
The bench posted the plea for hearing on Tuesday after the senior lawyer submitted that there has been a complete strike in West Bengal and it has forced the woman to challenge her arrest in the apex court.
The senior lawyer said the woman activist is in judicial custody following her arrest by the police.
A complaint filed at Dasnagar Police station against Priyanka Sharma, a BJP Yuva Morcha leader, accuses her of "violating community guidelines", an official of Howrah City police's Cyber Cell is quoted as telling news agency IANS. The complaint was reportedly filed by a Trinamool leader, Bibhas Hazra.
"This is a malicious effort to define our beloved CM who is working tirelessly for our state. We have lodged a police complaint and want stern action to be initiated. She has not just insulted our CM, but also the culture of Bengal," Mr Hazra reportedly complained. The charges cited on the complaint include "defamation and offensive messages".