Mamta Banerjee Meme: SC orders release of Priyanka Sharma

New Delhi: The Supreme Court vacation bench on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of BJP worker Priyanka Sharma, who was arrested for sharing a morphed image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media. The 26-year-old was given a conditional bail on the basis that she apologise immediately after her release.

“Is there any difficulty in apologising? We are asking her to apologise for herself. Freedom of speech ends where it affects others’ rights,” the Supreme Court said today. The court also issued a notice to West Bengal Police over the way the party activist was taken into custody.

Ms Sharma’s lawyer argued that “if one is asked to apologise for memes, will citizens come and apologise for a caricature”. Lawyer Neeraj Kishan Kaul said Priyanka Sharma did not create the morphed picture and she is being made to apologise only because of her association with the BJP. He said the order will have a “chilling effect on freedom of expression”. The court is being passed on the specific circumstances of the case.

Priyanka Sharma, who is based in Kolkata, was arrested on May 10 after she reportedly superimposed Banerjee’s face on Priyanka Chopra’s photograph from the Met Gala event in New York held on May 6. The 26-year-old was charged with penal provisions relating to defamation, uploading offensive content and distributing sexually explicit material.

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