Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Disha Ravi case: Tushar Mehta tells HC no leakage of information from Delhi Police’s end

"There is no leakage from the Police's end, I will put this on an affidavit too," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Delhi Police told a single-judge bench of the High Court presided over by Justice Prathiba M. Singh.

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The Delhi Police on Thursday denied allegations of leaking of personal chats and documents relating to its probe against climate activist Disha Ravi, in connection with the sedition case against her over editing a toolkit relating to the farmers’ protest.

“There is no leakage from the Police’s end, I will put this on an affidavit too,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Delhi Police told a single judge bench of the High Court presided over by Justice Prathiba M. Singh.

The submissions were made while the bench was hearing a petition filed by Ravi seeking directions to restrain Delhi Police from leaking any investigation material relating to the case filed against her by the Special Cell.

Responding to the submissions made by the Solicitor General, senior advocate Akhil Sibal appearing for the climate activist submitted, “My learned friend can say anything but the facts show something else.”

“On February14, I am before the Magistrate and news channel say this is from police sources,” Sibal added.

He also submitted that a statement shall be made by the police that nothing would be shared.

This petition is merely for media attention, Mehta responded.

Noting that the matter requires more consideration, the court has now put up the matter for further hearing on Friday.

The 22-year-old in her petition filed through Advocate Abhinav Sikri also sought directions to the Ministry of I&B seeking to take appropriate action against Respondent Nos. 4-6 and all other satellite TV channels including under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

“The Petitioner has preferred this Petition as she is severely aggrieved and prejudiced by the media trial surrounding her arrest and the ongoing investigation, where she is being viscerally attacked by the Delhi Police and several media houses, on the basis of leaked investigative matter and prejudicial press briefings, which is grossly violative of her right to a fair trial and presumption of
innocence,” the plea said.

Ravi has said in her petition that the illegal actions and omissions on part of the Respondents has irrevocably violated her fundamental right to privacy, her right to reputation, her dignity, and the consequent effect of the administration of justice and right to fair trial – all guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“…there is no clarification in any of the tweets or the news reporting to the effect that disclosure statements or ‘admissions’ made whilst in police custody are wholly inadmissible in evidence and have no basis in law. As such, in view of the facts described herein, it is highly likely that the general public will perceive these news items as being conclusive as to the guilt of the Petitioner,” the plea said.

On Tuesday, a district court in Delhi had allowed her applications to speak to her mother, access to books, for providing her warm clothes, home cooked food and to have access to lawyer. The Court had also allowed her access to the copy of chargesheet, arrest memo, grounds of arrest and remand application.

She was arrested from Bangalore on February 13, 2021, by Delhi police and charged with sedition for ‘formulation and dissemination’ of a toolkit to aid protesting farmers which was shared by Greta Thunberg.

On February 14, 2021, she was produced before the Court of CMM, in the FIR No 49/2021. The Court had sent her to five-days police custody remand which is going to be end on 19th February, 2021.

In its PC remand application the Delhi Police had submitted, “for proper investigation her detailed interrogation is required to get information by the Pro Khalistani Group Poetic Justice Foubdation and their active members are to be identified.”

The Delhi Commission for Women had also taken Suo-Motu cognizance on media reports of arrest of Disha Ravi by Delhi Police. The Commission had sent a notice to Delhi Police.

In its notice DCW said, according to media reports Disha Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru allegedly for supporting farmer’s protests. It has been alleged in the media by some activists that she was taken to Delhi from Bengaluru with no disclosure of her whereabouts, not even to her parents. She was brought to Delhi without presenting her before a local court for transit remand. It has been further alleged in media reports that she was produced before the Court in Delhi without lawyer of her choice being present in the Court.

The DCW had said, this is a very serious matter, citing Delhi High Court order wherein Court had stated, “Every endeavour should be made to obtain transit remand after producing the arrestee before the nearest magistrate…unless exigencies of the situation warrants otherwise.”

It further stated, that as per Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India says that every person arrested has the right to be defended by a “legal practitioner of his choice”.

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