The Supreme Court Tuesday ordered the immediate release of BJP Yuva Morcha leader Priyanka Sharma, who was arrested last week for sharing a morphed photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee. The top court also waived off the earlier condition asking Sharma to submit an unconditional apology in writing immediately after coming out of jail.
The SC further issued a notice to West Bengal government seeking its response on whether a political leader can be prosecuted for sharing an alleged objectionable post which is a kind of a political satire.
A vacation bench, comprising of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, observed that a person's freedom of speech is non-negotiable. However, the “freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon others' rights".
Expressing happiness over SC's decision, Sharma's mother Raj Kumari Sharma told news agency ANI, "I can't express how happy I am. I am awaiting my daughter's return."
Sharma was arrested by West Bengal police for allegedly sharing a morphed photo of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Facebook. A complaint against her was lodged at Dasnagar Police station on May 10 by local Trinamool Congress leader Vibhas Hazra. The West Bengal police said that Priyanka allegedly uploaded and shared morphed picture of Mamata Banerjee in her Facebook timeline.
The BJP activist had morphed Banerjee's face on to the image of Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas at the recently held MET Gala event. The theme for this year's MET Gala was 'Camp: Notes on Fashion'.
Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had denounced Priyanka's arrest saying such arrest should not happen otherwise there will be no freedom of speech in this country.
"The reign of terror of @MamataOfficial would embarrass even worst tyrants of world! To lend moral support, I met Smt Rajkumari Sharma, mother of @BJP4Bengal worker Ms Priyanka Sharma, arrested for making a meme on Mamata Didi. We're seeking judicial intervention for her release," tweeted Sarma.