‘Police leaked private WhatsApp chat’: Disha Ravi asks court to stop cops, media

ByRicha banka, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Feb 18, 2021 01:15 PM IST

Disha Ravi, 22, petitioned the Delhi High Court to stop the Delhi Police from leaking investigation details and deleting tweets that seek to pre-judge the case

Climate activist Disha Ravi on Thursday petitioned the Delhi High Court to stop the police from leaking “any investigation material” accessed by the Delhi Police as part of the probe, asserting that 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.

Activist Disha Ravi sent to 5 days Delhi police special cell custody, in New Delhi on Sunday.(ANI)
Activist Disha Ravi sent to 5 days Delhi police special cell custody, in New Delhi on Sunday.(ANI)

The 22-year-old activist was arrested by a team of Delhi Police officers from her Bengaluru home on Saturday on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and intending to riot. Police said she edited a protest social media toolkit backing the farmers’ agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws, which seek to open up agricultural trade in the country, and later shared it with others “to tarnish India’s image” and incite unrest.

Two other suspects in this case, a Mumbai-based lawyer Nikita Jacob and Beed resident Shantanu Muluk, have been granted protection from arrest by the Mumbai high court to enable them to approach a court in Delhi for relief.

Also Read: Disha Ravi’s arrest is wrong | HT Editorial

In her petition filed on Thursday, Disha Ravi said the police had taken custody of her mobile phone on 13 February and compelled her to supply passwords to access her phone, email addresses, and social media accounts. “Thus, 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 offence and is a violation of Petitioner’s dignity, reputation, and fundamental right to privacy, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” the petition said.

The petition will be taken up by the high court later in the afternoon. The Centre’s second most senior law officer, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, will appear for the Delhi Police.

The activist cited a string of media reports that had appeared in recent days citing alleged contents from her WhatsApp contents, underlying that these one-sided reports based on the narrative put out by the police were defamatory in nature.

Besides, the Delhi Police was also putting out posts on Twitter that are in violation of the Union home ministry’s guidelines issued in 2010 because these tweets “prejudge the guilt of the petitioner and disclose confidential and prejudicial information about the status of investigation stating that the petitioner was a “key conspirator in the document (toolkit’s) formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc”.

“Such tweets constitute an opinionated and judgmental statement and significantly impinge on the right to privacy and fair trial of the petitioner,” she said.

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