The Delhi high court on Thursday said that the petition filed by arrested 22-year-old climate change activist Disha Ravi, seeking an order to prevent the police from leaking investigation material accessed as part of the probe into the ‘toolkit case’ would be heard on Friday as it required consideration. It also issued notice to News Broadcasting Standards Authority and a few media houses.
According to Ravi, the police had pre-judged her guilt and had been putting out a “biased and defamatory narrative” about her role in violation of the Union home ministry’s guidelines. She has also sought a ban on private TV channels from publishing contents of her WhatsApp conversation, Hindustan Times reported.
While Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the police, said that no leaks were made by the police and they were ready to file an affidavit in this regard, senior advocate Akhil Sibal, appearing for Ravi, argued that police was behind the leakage of information.
Sibal also sought a statement by police that no information on the case will be shared with the media in future. However, the SG opposed this and said that the demand was being made for media attention.
In her petition, Ravi said that police had taken her mobile phone in their custody on February 13 and had forced her to provide them with credentials of her private accounts.
“Thus, the only Respondent No. 1 had access to the contents of the Petitioner’s private conversations and any leaks of the same necessarily constitutes the commission of a cognizable offense and is a violation of Petitioner’s dignity, reputation, and fundamental right to privacy, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the petition said.
It may be stated that the activist was arrested on February 13 on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and intending to riot. According to the police, she edited a protest toolkit backing the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
The same toolkit was shared on social media by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and later deleted.