The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal for delaying the release of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Yuva Morcha leader Priyanka Sharma.
The top court said that it will issue a notice of contempt after it was informed by Sharma's lawyer that she had not been released. However, the state government said the police had released Sharma around 9.40 this morning.
"I'm told, subject to verification, that she was released at 9:40-10:00 am and that too after made to sign a statement prepared by police. It reflects extremely disturbing trend that SC's order that said 'forthwith release her' wasn't followed for 24 hours," Sharma's lawyer was quoted as saying by ANI.
Priyanka Sharma's lawyer: I'm told, subject to verification, that she was released at 9:40-10:00 am & that too after made to sign a statement prepared by police. It reflects extremely disturbing trend that SC's order that said 'forthwith release her' wasn't followed for 24 hrs pic.twitter.com/TLF9OZjuxV— ANI (@ANI) May 15, 2019
The court earlier on Tuesday granted bail to Sharma, against whom a complaint was filed in Bengal for sharing a photo in which Banerjee's face was photoshopped onto actor Priyanka Chopra's picture from a MET Gala event in New York.
It also asked Sharma to apologise in writing on her release from jail. It observed freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon the rights of others.
West Bengal police arrested Sharma on May 10 under section 500 (defamation) of the IPC and under other provisions of the Information Technology Act on the complaint of local Trinamool Congress leader Vibhas Hazra.
BJP leaders and social media users have protested Sharma's arrest.
"We have been battling the TMC in Bengal for two years and many of our activists have been arrested, beaten up and even killed by their goons. This has exposed how anarchy has spread in Bengal and how in Mamata didi's rule, freedom of expression has been strangled to death," BJP leader Poonam Mahajan alleged.