Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta on Thursday told the Delhi High Court 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) and 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, SG Tushar Mehta told the court that the Union of India is not a necessary party and there is no leakage from Delhi Police. Mehta said he will file an affidavit to the petition.

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, and 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 and communication by her to any third party, including the media.

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

Ravi urged the court to issue a writ of mandamus or writ of like nature directing certain media houses and 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 and to forthwith take down its article based on the material extracted from an alleged WhatsApp conversation between the petitioner and one Greta Thunberg.

The plea sought to restrain respondent media houses and 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, and 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 and prejudiced by the media trial surrounding her arrest and the ongoing investigation, where she is being viscerally attacked by the respondent and several media houses, including respondents 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 illegal actions and omissions on part of the respondents have irrevocably violated the petitioner’s fundamental right to privacy, her right to reputation, her dignity and the consequent effect of the administration of justice and right to a fair trial – all guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” read the petition.

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

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

Two e-mail IDs, one Instagram account, and one Uniform Resource Locator (URL) were mentioned in the toolkit and 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’.