The Supreme Court will hear Tuesday a plea by West Bengal BJP functionary Priyanka Sharma who has challenged her arrest by the state police for allegedly posting a morphed picture of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Her petition was mentioned Monday before a vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna. The bench agreed to take it up Tuesday.
Appearing for Sharma, senior advocate N K Kaul said she was forced to approach the Supreme Court as there was no legal work happening in West Bengal since April 25 on account of protests by lawyers over differences with the state police.
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Sharma is also learnt to have questioned the state police invoking the now defunct Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. The Supreme Court had struck down the provision as unconstitutional in 2015.
Sharma, whose Facebook district club cell convener of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), was arrested on May 10 for allegedly posting a picture of actor Priyanka Chopra with her husband Nick Jonas at the red carpet of the recent Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in New York, with Banerjee’s face superimposed on the actor’s. The image is no longer on Priyanka’s Facebook timeline.
On May 11, she was produced before a court in Howrah which remanded her in judicial custody for 14 days.
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 Vibhas Hazra. Sharma, who joined the BJP six months ago, runs a shop near her home in Dasnagar in Howrah, where she lives with her mother and brother.