Supreme Court on Wednesday censured West Bengal government over the delay in the release of BJP Youth Wing Convenor Priyanka Sharma who was arrested for allegedly sharing a morphed photo of Mamata Banerjee on social media.
Sharma was on Tuesday given an immediate release after the apex court granted bail to the BJP activist without a written apology.
Questioning the delay in her release, the Supreme Court observed that Sharma’s arrest over Mamata Banerjee’s morphed photo was “prima facie arbitrary” adding that it would have issued contempt notice if she was not released.
Despite the court ordering her release on Tuesday, Sharma had to spend another night in jail.
Priyanka Sharma’s lawyer NK Kaul told the court that she was released at 9:40-10:00 am today and was asked to sign an apology letter prepared by the police which says she will not post such meme again.
When the defence lawyer, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul told the court that Sharma was released at 9:40 am today, the court asked the West Bengal government’s lawyer, “Why 9:40 am? The order was passed in your presence?”
Priyanka counsel further said that the delay by the police reflects an extremely disturbing trend that SC’s order that said “forthwith release her” was not followed for 24 hours.
West Bengal Police on 10 May said Sharma was arrested for uploading and sharing the morphed picture of the CM which had her face photoshopped on Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra’s Met Gala look.
Following her arrest, Sharma was sent to two weeks’ judicial custody.
Briefing media after her release, Priyanka Sharma said that even after she was granted bail on Tuesday, she was not released for another 18 hours and was not allowed to meet her advocate and family. She further said that she was made to sign an apology.
She asserted that she will fight the case and will not apologise.
The Supreme Court said it will hear in July first week, the application of Priyanka Sharma seeking action against the West Bengal police authorities.