The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the direct release of BJP activist Priyanka Sharma who was arrested by Bengal Police for sharing a meme having a morphed image of Mamta Banerjee in it. Senior Advocate N.K Kaul on behalf of Sharma said that her post in question was already deleted before the arrest and the memes being circulated on social media was not only shared by her but many others as well. He thus said that her arrest for only circulation of memes on social media was a huge violation of fundamental rights. Politicians and experts all around the country are questioning Mamta’s little intolerance over the matter and it has further fueled the debate over the Hitler-image of Mamta Banerjee in Kolkata. Justice Sanjiv Khanna in his order observed that the problem actually arose because of Priyanka being a member of an election contesting party. The court also allowed for the larger question of law concerning the ramifications on the freedom of speech and expression to remain open, issuing a notice to the state of West Bengal.
Freedom of Speech and expression debate, once again, has ensued in light of the above incident and the arbitrary arrest, without doubt, attacks some of the most cherished Rights granted by the Constitution. But above all, the election season has witnessed West Bengal's flames and fumes of words and actions. The propagators of free speech, the believers of 'tolerant India' are puzzled over a meme-share-arrest. Are the netizens subjected to restrictions beyond those prescribed in Article 19(2)? Or, to go to the root of the matter, does 19(2) covers a meme-share under any heads? As a fellow netizen who has scrolled through social sites a lot, I believe the answer should be no. But is it? More so, how 'privileged' are our politicians so as to deprive us of our rights while exercising their powers, seems a troubling question that is, by and large, at the heart of this controversy.
Tags : #DidiMeme #FreeedomOfSpeech #FreeSpeech #WestBengal #MemeArrest