The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma contingent on her tendering a written apology for putting up a meme of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media.
The apex court had observed in the bail plea of Priyanka Sharma, BJP youth wing worker who was arrested for sharing the morphed picture, that it can grant bail to her but she has to apologise. "We can grant bail but she has to apologise", the bench said.
Following the conditional release observation, a massive debate over freedom of expression has broken out, with many asking whether all satirists and comedians will now have to apologise for expressing themselves in such a manner.
UPDATE: While there are reports stating that the Supreme Court called back Priyanka Sharma's lawyer to rollback the apology demand, Republic Media Network is confirming facts on the same. Updates will be provided accordingly.
Raj Kumari Sharma, mother of BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma who has been granted conditional bail by SC, "I can't express how happy I am. I am awaiting my daughter's return."
In the picture that Sharma had shared on May 9, Banerjee's face was superimposed on actor Priyanka Chopra's body, in the dress she wore to the 2019 Met Gala. Sharma was arrested on Friday and was sent to 14-days police custody.
Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who in 2012 had been arrested on charges of sedition for a cartoon he had made spoke to Republic TV on Monday.
"Priyanka Sharma's arrest should be opposed. No matter what her political inclination is, the image that she has posted on not-so questionable, for which she has been arrested. It happens everywhere. People on social media mock their politicians. This can not happen in a strong democracy where a person is getting arrested for memes. If this is happening right now, then it means that the politicians are showing themselves as the 'dictators'."