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SC grants bail to BJP activist Priyanka Sharma, asks her tender apology after release

ANI  |  General News 

The on Tuesday granted to functionary Priyanka Sharma, who was arrested on May 10 for allegedly posting a morphed picture of on Facebook, and asked her to tender a written apology after release.

A vacation bench comprising Justices and had earlier directed 25-year-old Sharma to furnish an apology before her release.

"Subject to tendering an apology in writing for putting up an objectionable picture on account, she shall be immediately released. At the time of release, she shall tender an apology in writing," the bench had said in its previous order.

The court later called back Sharma's and informed him about the change in its direction.

Kaul, during the hearing, had contended that asking for an apology would amount to infringement of the Right to Freedom of Speech.

The bench also issued notice to police on Sharma's petition challenging her arrest.

She was taken into custody on May 10 on a complaint by a member and produced a day later before a which sent her to 14 days judicial custody.

Kaul had mentioned the plea before the court for an urgent hearing on Monday. However, the bench had agreed to hear it today.

The functionary's had yesterday submitted that due to an ongoing strike by lawyers in West Bengal, there was no legal remedy available in the state and therefore, she had to approach the apex court.

Sharma, convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing in Howrah, had on May 9 posted a picture of at the recent Metropolitan Museum Gala in with Banerjee's face allegedly superimposed on the actor's.

In Howrah, her family distributed sweets and thanked the for granting her

Sharma's mother said that the state government's decision to arrest was not right.

"I am very happy. I am awaiting my daughter's return. I heartily thank the for such a decision. If she had done anything wrong, the government could have warned her but directly putting her in custody and that too for 14 days is not done," she said.

Earlier, the family had alleged that she was arrested at the ruling TMC's behest as she worked for

Her mother told ANI on Sunday, "My daughter was arrested because she used to work for BJP. This is all part of a bigger plot. This is the first time she is far away from us. Had she been a worker, nothing bad would have happened to her, This has been done at the behest of The fact that she is in jail has increased our worries."

The arrest led to strong condemnation by BJP leaders, who alleged that was indulging in politics of "hate and violence" and that an "Emergency-like situation' prevailed in the state.

On Sunday, BJP met with Sharma's family members and said that the current situation in the state is reminiscent of 'Emergency'.

On Monday, denounced the government for the action and said that such politics is neither good for the country nor the state.

"In West Bengal, such things have been going on for long. Even (Narendra) Modi ji is called 'chor,' liar, expired and all that, but we did not take any action against anyone. This is because we believe that in politics there must be open debate and discussion. The opposition has an important role. But in West Bengal, they (TMC) are threatening our workers and indulging in politics of hate and violence. This is neither good for the country, nor the state," he told ANI.

has been charged under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (defamation), 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 Act.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 14:47 IST