The Delhi Police on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it had not leaked any documents relating to its investigation into the FIR against climate change activist Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with the ‘toolkit’ case.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed Justice Prathiba M. Singh that there was “no leakage” from the police.
Following the statement, the court asked the Delhi Police to give an affidavit with the written submission that it had not leaked any information relating to the case to the media.
The court also issued notice to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and three media houses – News18, India Today and Times Now – named in the petition filed by Ms. Ravi.
The 22-year-old, in her plea, has sought to restrain the police from leaking any investigation material relating to her case to the media. She has also pleaded for action against News18, India Today and Times Now for publishing contents or extracts of her private WhatsApp chats claiming it to be “violative of fair trial rights and right to privacy”.
Ms. Disha, a permanent resident of Bangalore, was arrested in connection with an FIR registered on February 4. The plea claimed that she was flown overnight to New Delhi without obtaining transit remand in flagrant violation of her constitutional rights.
The petition stated that Ms. Disha “is severely aggrieved and prejudiced by the media trial surrounding her arrest and the ongoing investigation, where she is being viscerally attacked by the Respondent No. 1 (Special Cell, Delhi Police) and several media houses… on the basis of leaked investigative matter”.
‘Mobile, laptop seized’
Ms. Disha claimed that her mobile phone and laptop were seized the Special Cell, Delhi Police, at 11 a.m. on February 13, 2021, and had not been accessed by her since then. “Thus, only Respondent No. 1 (Special Cell) had access to the contents of the Petitioner’s private conversations and any leaks of the same necessarily constitutes the commission of a cognizable offence,” the plea stated.
“The further publication and dissemination of the Petitioner’s private alleged WhatsApp chats by media houses, including Respondent Nos. 4-6 (News18, India Today and Times Now), is a clear violation of the provisions of the Cable Sections the Cable Televisions Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 (CTN Act), the Programme Code and the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines,” the plea added.
The petition claimed that the police, on February 14, tweeted from their official Twitter handle that, “Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in documents formulation & dissemination…”
This, she said, was in “direct violation of the Ministry of Home Affairs Office Memorandum dated 01.04.2010 Advisory on Media Policy of Police, because they outright prejudge the guilt of the Petitioner and disclose confidential and prejudicial information about the status of investigation”.
The High Court will hear the case on Friday.
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