In a huge embarrassment for the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, the Supreme Court has pulled up the West Bengal police for not releasing Priyanka Sharma following its order on Tuesday. Sharma was released on Wednesday at 9:40 am.
Justice Indira Banerjee said that not releasing Priyanka Sharma on Tuesday despite the Supreme Court order amounted to contempt. She has also said that Priyanka Sharma’s arrest was arbitrary.
Sharma's lawyer Neeraj Kishen Kaul said to the court that the jail authorities told that they received the orders from the Supreme Court after 5:30 pm on Tuesday. He also asked that how can Priyanka be asked to apologise when the West Bengal police have filed a closure report in the case.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to the BJP activist arrested after 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. In the immediate aftermath of the order, many opined that it had infringed on the freedom of expression and expressed solidarity with Sharma.
In its order, the Supreme Court mentioned that the case wasn't meant to serve as a 'precedent':
"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 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."