Protesters hold placards during a demonstration against the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi, in Bengaluru on Monday.(PTI)
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration against the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi, in Bengaluru on Monday.(PTI)

Were informed about activist Disha Ravi's arrest later, says Bengaluru police

The Delhi Police earlier said Disha Ravi was arrested in the presence of her mother and the Station House Officer from the Bengaluru police station.
By Arun Dev , Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
UPDATED ON FEB 16, 2021 12:17 PM IST

Senior officers in Bengaluru police on Monday said that they were informed about the arrest of 22-year-old Disha Ravi only after all procedures of the arrest were completed.

HT spoke with three senior officers in the city, who said on condition of anonymity that Delhi police informed the local police about the arrest through officials of Karnataka cyber-crime cell, after the arrest was made.

While addressing media in New Delhi, Prem Nath, Joint Commissioner, Cyber Cell, Delhi Police said that Disha Ravi was arrested in the presence of her mother and the Station House Officer from the local police station. He claimed that all procedures were followed.

However, according to the city police, the information was passed on to the local police station and no officer was present during the arrest.

The operation of Delhi police has come under scrutiny by legal experts and activists.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa cited the Criminal Procedure Code to state that when an accused is arrested in another state, it is incumbent upon the arresting police to take assistance of the local police and to produce the accused with the case diaries, before a nearest magistrate for a decision on custody and remand. “Criminal Justice System requires every arrest to be judicially scrutinised at all levels. In this case, the Delhi Police has circumvented the law and violated the fundamental rights of the accused by depriving her even of legal assistance,” said Pahwa.

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Bengaluru-based lawyer Vinay Srinivasa said that a group of city lawyers submitted a memorandum to the police, seeking explanation on the procedural lapses and the follow-up action by the police.

“According to the guidelines provided by the Delhi High Court following a 2018 case, an officer should inform the concerned local police station of the purpose of his visit on arrival; the arrested person must be given an opportunity to consult his lawyer before he/she is taken out of state; and the police officer must visit the local police station make an entry in the daily diary specifying the name and address of the person(s) being taken out of the state. Delhi police have violated all these HC guidelines,” added Srinivasa.

But some believe it hasn’t violated any norms.

Former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Sidharth Luthra said that in a case of arrest without a warrant, the fundamental requirement is to produce an accused before a judge within 24 hours in keeping with Article 22 of Constitution.

“A 2014 judgment by the Delhi high court in Sat Prakash’s case has also clarified this position in law. Besides, if there is a procedural irregularity in making an arrest, a subsequent order of remand can cure it as per the legal provisions,” he added.

Criminal lawyer MS Khan said: “There is no illegality or infirmity in the Delhi Police arresting Disha Ravi from Bengaluru and producing her before a magistrate within 24 hours.” The advocate added that once an accused is produced before a magistrate, the judicial officer can allow custodial interrogation for a maximum period of 15 days if there is adequate reason.

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Following the arrest, NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) issued a statement that Disha should have been produced before the competent court in Bengaluru for obtaining transit remand since she is being moved between states.

“She was instead produced before the Duty Magistrate in Patiala House Court in Delhi – by no means the “nearest magistrate” as required by clause (2) of Article 22. She also did not have an opportunity to seek legal counsel nor was one provided to her, in breach of clause (1) of Article 22,” read a statement from CJAR.

Disha was provided a legal aid lawyer before the Delhi court when she was sent to police custody for five days.

The statement further added that the actions of Delhi police have made a complete mockery of the “procedure established by law” in depriving Disha Ravi of her right to life and liberty. “Such illegal actions by the Delhi Police would amount to kidnapping under the pretense of law.”

“Disha was arrested without a warrant from the court since the FIR registered in this case disclosed cognisable offences. All procedures under the CrPC were followed and she was produced before the court of competent jurisdiction in Delhi within 24 hours,” said a Delhi Police officer on the condition of anonymity.

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