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Toolkit case: Delhi HC sends notice to NBSA, news channels on Disha Ravi’s plea

Seeks direction to the Delhi police against leaking information to the media.

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has issued notices to three leading news channels on a petition moved by climate activist Disha Ravi seeking directions to the Delhi police against leaking any investigation material to the media in the toolkit case.

In her petition, Ravi has claimed that she is being "viscerally attacked" by the Delhi police and several media houses on the basis of leaked investigative matters and prejudicial press briefings.

Such conduct, she has asserted, goes against her presumption of innocence, and violates her right to fair trial, thereby affecting the administration of justice.

In her plea, the 22-year-old has sought action against India Today, Times Now and News18 for violative reporting in the Toolkit Case by allegedly running "one-sided" reports. The court sent notices to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), News 18, and Times Now. India Today was already represented in the court.

"Leaking of investigation materials to media is blatantly illegal, violative of right to privacy and reputation, and significantly prejudices the right to a fair trial by destroying the presumption of innocence. The actions of Delhi police, thus, violate Article 21 of the Constitution of India," she has said.

Ravi wants the ministry of information and broadcasting to take appropriate action against the three channels for violation of fair trial rights and right to privacy. Her counsel also sought directions issued to the NBSA to take appropriate action against certain media houses in this regard. The activist has also sought to restrain the media from publishing extracts of her private chats and communication.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the court that there was "no leak" from the Delhi police and the petition was filed to seek "media attention." He also added that the Union government was not a necessary party in the present petition.

Ravi is the first person to be arrested by the Delhi police in the toolkit case, for allegedly sharing and editing the document intended to help the farmers’ protest against the new agricultural laws. 'Toolkit’ is a common term used by social activists for campaign material and was tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in support of the Indian farmers' protest.

The Delhi police has claimed that Ravi started a WhatsApp group and collaborated with the pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to make the toolkit document to disaffection against India, a charge that the activist has strongly denied.

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