The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to a BJP activist arrested for allegedly posting a morphed image of Mamata Banerjee on social media, observing that freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon others' rights.
The Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna ordered for Sharma’s immediate release.
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 at the time of her release.
The order of the Supreme Court said:
"The detenue, Priyanka Sharma, is directed to be immediately released on bail. The detenue shall, however, at the time of release, tender an apology in writing for putting up/sharing the pictures complained of on her Face Book Account."
It also added that:
"It is made clear that this order is being made in the special facts and circumstances of this case and shall not operate as a precedent."
During the hearing, the bench observed that though freedom of speech is non-negotiable "your freedom of speech ends when it infringes upon others' rights". The bench observed that since Sharma is a member of a political party, the insinuation of posting such a picture will be different from those shared by common people.
In the previous hearing, senior advocate N K Kaul, appearing for Sharma, said the BJP activist had been forced to move the apex court as there was a complete strike in local courts till May 14 in Howrah and moreover, she had been remanded in 14 day judicial custody by a Howrah local court on May 11.
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.
(With PTI inputs)