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Mamata morphed photo: SC issues notice to Bengal govt for delaying release of Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Sharma was released on May 15, 2019, and had refused to apologise for putting up the morphed picture.

The Supreme Court Monday issued a notice to the West Bengal government for delaying the release of BJP member Priyanka Sharma — arrested for sharing a morphed picture of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — from jail, despite its direction on that she be “immediately freed”.

Sharma was released on May 15, 2019, and had refused to apologise for putting up the morphed picture.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the state government and others on the contempt plea filed by the activist’s brother Rajib Sharma. Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, representing Priyanka’s brother Rajib Sharma, said that although the bench had granted her bail on Tuesday (May 14) and directed her immediate release, she was not freed.

The jail authorities, he added, had demanded that they bring certified copies of the court’s order or approach the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court concerned.

Opinion | When the cartoon is turned into a target, democracy becomes a joke

When the state’s counsel referred to the jail manual, the apex court retaliated, “Jail manual can’t have precedence over an order of the Supreme Court.” “No. This is not done. First of all, the arrest was prima facie arbitrary,” the bench said and warned of contempt proceedings if she was not released forthwith. Kaul asked what right did the the state and the police have to detain her even for a minute after the apex court’s order.

Priyanka also said, “I will fight this case. I will not apologise for a meme… I was detained for 18 hours even after my bail was granted… They did not allow me to meet my advocate and family. They made me sign an apology forcefully. I was tortured in jail. The jail staff pushed me as if I was a criminal.”

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