New Delhi, May 15 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Wednesday termed as "prima facie arbitrary" the arrest of BJP's West Bengal youth wing leader Priyanka Sharma for allegedly publishing a morphed image of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media.
A vacation bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also took exception to the West Bengal government's delay in keeping Sharma behind the bars despite the court's Tuesday order for her "immediate release".
The apex court's observation came after Sharma's counsel, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, mentioned that despite the court's order, Sharma was kept in jail for an extra day.
The court said: "This is not done. First of all, her arrest was arbitrary... if she is not released, consequences shall follow."
Counsel for the West Bengal government told the court that Sharma has been released at around 9.40 a.m. from the jail on Wednesday. The state government did not release her earlier due to lack of a certified copy of the top court's order, as per the state jail manual, counsel said.
At this, the court said: "The order was passed in your presence... jail manuals can't have superintendence over the SC.
"If she is not released, we will take contempt action."
The apex court had on Tuesday passed direction for Sharma's immediate release and asked her to tender apology upon her release for posting the meme.
Meanwhile, Sharma's counsel also informed the court that her brother had found that police had already filed a closure report in the case.
"There was no question of apology... has counsel for state disclosed this earlier," Kaul asked.
He also told the court that he will file an application on behalf of the petitioner for action against the state government and also modification of the court's order.
The court said there isn't any urgency. "We will hear it in the first week of July", the court said.
According to the court's schedule published on the website, the matter has been listed in the first week of July.
Sharma was accused of sharing on social media a photo of Banerjee photoshopped on a picture of Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra from last week's MET Gala event in New York City.