NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police on Thursday denied leaking any information to the media in connection with the probe against Bengaluru student and climate activist Disha Ravi in the farmer protest toolkit case. Appearing for police, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi High Court that an affidavit would be filed on Friday.
A bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, however, issued notices to the News Broadcasters Standards Association (NBSA) and three news channels on Disha’s petition seeking an order restraining the police from leaking investigation material accessed as part of the probe.The court said the prayer required consideration and posted the matter for hearing on Friday.
Claiming that her arrest on February 13 was “wholly unlawfully and without basis”, Disha alleged “media trial” against her and said she was being “viscerally attacked” by police and several media houses. Senior advocate Akhil Sibal, appearing for Disha, argued that police had seized her phone and was behind the leakage of information.
The plea claimed only police had access to the contents of Disha’s private conversations and any leak of the same is a violation of the petitioner’s “dignity, reputation and fundamental right to privacy, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”.Investigative matters leaked to the media are “prejudicial” and “grossly violative of her right to a fair trial and presumption of innocence”, the petition stated.
The petitioner sought to restrain the media from publishing the contents or extracts of any private chats, including those on WhatsApp, between her and ‘third parties’. The publication/broadcast of the chats by various media houses was a violation of the provisions of the Cable Televisions Networks (Regulation) Act, the Programme Code and the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, it contended. According to Ravi, the police pre-judged her guilt and in the present circumstances, it was “highly likely” that the public will perceive the news items “as being conclusive as to the guilt of the petitioner”.