No leakage of information to Media in relation to FIR against Disha Ravi from Delhi Police: Solicitor General

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On Thursday, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told the High Court of Delhi that there was no leakage of any information in relation to the first information report (FIR) against 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi to media from the Delhi Police.

A single-Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh issued notice to News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) & others including certain media houses on climate activist Disha Ravi’s plea seeking to issue a direction to Delhi Police not to leak any investigation material in relation to the FIR filed against him or any third party, including the media. The Court will hear the matter tomorrow.

Appearing for the respondent, Solicitor General told the Court that Union of India is not a necessary party & there is no leakage from Delhi Police. Mehta said he will file an affidavit to the plea.

The Court was hearing Disha Ravi’s plea seeking direction from the Delhi Police to not leak private information.

Disha Ravi, in her plea filed through advocates Abhinav Sekhri, Sanjana Srikumar & Krishnesh Bapat, sought to issue a direction to Delhi Police not to leak any investigation material in relation to FIR including the alleged contents of private chats & communication by her to any third party, including the media.

Disha Ravi’s advocates urged the High Court of Delhi to issue a direction to the Union of India to take appropriate action against certain media organisations & all other satellite TV channels under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, & restrain them from publishing the contents and/or extracts of any alleged private chats (including WhatsApp chats) between her & third parties.

Disha Ravi’s counsel also sought to issue a direction to News Broadcasting Standards Authority to take appropriate action against certain media houses & other members of private news broadcasting channels under its guidelines for reporting on Disha Ravi in a manner that is violative of fair trial rights & right to privacy.

Ravi urged the Court to issue a writ of mandamus or writ of like nature directing certain media houses & all private satellite TV channels to comply with the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

The climate activist’s plea asked the court to issue a direction to the respondent media house to forthwith take down the tweets that disclose the content of petitioner’s alleged private WhatsApp chats & to forthwith take down its article based on the material extracted from an alleged WhatsApp conversation between the petitioner & one Greta Thunberg.

The plea sought to restrain respondent media houses & all private satellite TV channels from further disseminating any alleged private WhatsApp messages or any other private conversations of the petitioner till the conclusion of the trial.

Disha Ravi said she was flown overnight to New Delhi without obtaining a transit remand in flagrant violation of her constitutional rights, & she was remanded to police custody for a period of five days.

She also said she has preferred this petition as she is severely aggrieved & prejudiced by the media trial surrounding her arrest & the ongoing investigation, where she is being viscerally attacked by the respondent & several media houses, including respondents on the basis of leaked investigative matter & prejudicial press briefings, which is grossly violative of her right to a fair trial & presumption of innocence.

The plea reads, “The illegal actions & omissions on part of the respondents have irrevocably violated the petitioner’s fundamental right to privacy, her right to reputation, her dignity & the consequent effect of the administration of justice & right to a fair trial – all guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist was arrested from Bengaluru in connection with the formulation & dissemination of the ‘Toolkit’ document, in the ongoing farmers’ protest.

Earlier, the Delhi Police sent a communication to Google seeking registration details & activity log of the account, through which a “toolkit” related to the farmers’ protest was created & uploaded on the social media platform.

Two e-mail IDs, one Instagram account, & one Uniform Resource Locator (URL) were mentioned in the toolkit & police have asked for details from the respective platforms.

The Police had registered an FIR against unidentified persons in connection with the creators of the ‘toolkit’.

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