Supreme Court will hear tomorrow (Tuesday, May 14) the bail plea of BJP YuvaMorcha(BJYM) leader Priyanka Sharma arrested on Friday, May 10 for allegedly sharing a morphed photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Sharma was arrested by the Dasnagar police station in Howrah district, West Bengal on May 10. She is accused of sharing a photo in which Mamata Banerjee’s face has been photo-shopped on the form of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra; in the original picture, the actor, who voted from the Mumbai North West Lok Sabha constituency in this election, was photographed at the MET Gala event in New York City.
Sharma, who has been remanded to 14-days judicial custody, moved the apex court today.Sharma’s lawyer –senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul – toldthe court that his 26-year-old client had no choice but to approach the Supreme Court because of a complete strike in the state. She is seeking bail.
A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna has agreed to hear the matter tomorrow.
Sharma has been charged under Section 500 of the IPC (defamation), and Sections 66A (offensive messages) and the non-bailable 67A (punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. Police said they acted on the basis of a complaint by local Trinamool Congress leader VibhasHazra.
The arrest started a war of words between the BJP and the TMC. “The post was in bad taste. The West Bengal Chief Minister is a woman and any post like this is not acceptable. We condemn such incidents, especially if done during elections,” senior Trinamool leader and state minister Arup Roy told The Indian Express.
Condemning the arrest, Assam Finance Minister HimantaBiswaSarma said in a tweet. “Appalled at an Emergency-like situation in WB. Freedom of expression is severely curbed. Priyanka Sharma, executive member of @bjym4howrah, has been sent to 14-day police custody for posting a Met Gala-themed meme. Please release her.”
In April 2012, Ambikesh Mahapatra, a chemistry professor at Jadavpur University, was arrested for circulating an email with a caricature of Banerjee.