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SC says arrest of woman for sharing Mamata Banerjee’s meme was ‘prima facie arbitrary’, Priyanka says ‘I will fight this case’

The delay in documentation process by the state court is being seen as the state's deliberate attempt to prolong Priyanka Sharma's judicial custody

The deliberate delays made by the West Bengal state authorities in the release of BJP youth wing worker, Priyanka Sharma had finally come under scrutiny after the Supreme Court gave a stern observation saying that Priyanka Sharma’s arrest was “prima facie arbitrary” and not releasing her with immediate effect amounts to contempt.

The Supreme court’s observation came after counsel for Sharma’s brother mentioned the matter before it and said that despite the court’s order on Tuesday the activist has not been released from jail.

Priyanka Sharma’s counsel, NK Kaul also mentioned that though “Sharma is being released, but before her release, she was asked to sign an apology letter prepared by the Police which says she will not post this again”, claiming that how can Priyanka be asked to apologise when the West Bengal police have filed a closure report in the case.

He added that the jail superintendent had not been intimated about the Supreme Court’s order on Tuesday but was informed at 9.40 am on Wednesday, despite which his client had not been released.

Censuring the West Bengal government and warning that it would issue a contempt of court notice, the SC asked the counsel representing Sharma’s brother Rajib Sharma to take instruction on whether she has been released from jail or not.

After a few minutes, the lawyer said that she was released at 9:40 – 10:00 AM and that too after she was made to sign the apology statement.

The Supreme court had yesterday granted bail to West Bengal BJP functionary Priyanka Sharma, who was arrested on May 10 for allegedly posting a morphed picture of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Facebook, after waiving its earlier condition that she tenders a written apology observing that freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon others’ rights.

The Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna had ordered for Sharma’s immediate release.

It is being said that a delay in the documentation process by state courts, had caused the delay in Priyanka Sharma’s release. After SC ordered the release on Tuesday, the documentation process was needed to be done by Howrah court as it had sent Sharma on 14-day judicial custody. However, this delay in documentation process by the state court is being seen as the state’s deliberate attempt to prolong Priyanka Sharma’s judicial custody

The family of Priyanka Sharma has been now called to the police station later this afternoon to complete the legal formalities.

Priyanka’s mother said to ANI, that though, her daughter was released at 9.40 am, she still has been kept in the Alipore (Correctional Home).

It may be noted that WB police have slapped the draconian Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, in the case, which has already been struck down by the Supreme Court calling it unconstitutional and an infringement on citizens’ fundamental right to know.

Priyanka Sharma, the BJP Bengal youth leader, was arrested for merely sharing a meme caricaturing Banerjee on her Facebook Timeline on May 9, and was slapped with non-bailable charges and sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

After her release on bail, Priyanka Sharma was defiant. She said she will fight this case and not apologise.

complaint against the convenor of BJYM, Priyanka Sharma was made by TMC leader Vibhas Hazra in Howrah for allegedly sharing a morphed picture of Mamata Banerjee. The MET Gala 2019 themed meme superimposed Mamata’s face on Priyanka Chopra’s body. She was arrested and produced in Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Howrah.

The copy of the complaint read that this act broke the community guidelines and it was being viewed as an issue of violence. “She has not only tried to insult our Hon’ble Chief Minister, but she is trying to insult the culture of our Bengal by her post on Facebook and which is Cyber Crime”, read the complaint.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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