Toolkit Case: After Disha Ravi Accuses Police of Leaking Private Info, Delhi HC Seeks Probe Status

The climate activist accused Delhi Police of leaking sensitive information to the media, which she said was "malicious and in violation of the right to privacy and free trial".

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday, February 27, ordered the Union government to file an affidavit on the status of the investigation against climate activist Disha Ravi, who is an accused in the 2021 ‘toolkit’ case.

Ravi, who secured bail in February 2021, moved the court accusing the Delhi Police of leaking private information about her to the media despite the fact no charge sheet has been filed in the case thus far. This, she said, was “malicious and in violation of the right to privacy and free trial”, Livelaw.in reported.

Justice Pratibha Singh, in response, directed the Union government to file an affidavit on the current position and the status of the investigation at least two weeks before the next hearing on September 4.

Advocate Akhil Sibal, appearing for Ravi, told the court that Ravi has been out on bail for long and no chargesheet has been filed yet. “During the course of the investigation, when the chargesheet is yet to be filed, you’ve collected private data and media starts reporting….,” the legal news portal quoted Sibal as saying.

Ravi submitted to the court that her WhatsApp chats, which are private in nature, as well as the alleged admissions and disclosure made during her time in police custody were leaked in the public domain.

Sibal further said that what requires to be deliberated upon is whether the investigating agency has the power and entitlement to identify and collect private data from a person who is under investigation.

Justice Singh responded by saying that the matter will have to be heard on the aspect if the issue is still alive or not.

In February 2021, a Delhi court had granted her bail “considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, there was no palpable reason to deny bail”. Ravi was arrested by the Delhi Police on February 13, 2021, for editing an online manual that highlighted methods which one could use to support India’s protesting farmers. According to authorities, in what came to be known as the ‘toolkit’ case, Ravi, along with others, was hatching a conspiracy to fuel then ongoing farmers’ protests.

Ravi was booked for sedition and criminal conspiracy behind the January 26, 2021 violence in the national capital. Delhi Police held that the ‘toolkit‘ shared by international climate activist Greta Thunberg and worked upon by Ravi, along with advocate Nikita Jacob and engineer Shantanu Muluk, had connections to the Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) and that this was a ‘pro-Khalistani’ organisation led by Mo Dhaliwal and Anita Lal, who are also pro-Khalistan. Ravi’s arrest had been widely criticised as the government’s attempt to crack down on the farmers’ protest and those supporting it and also met with international condemnation.