The Delhi Court on Thursday, February 18, heard the plea filed by climate activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested by the Delhi Police over the social media 'toolkit' controversy, seeking directions against the police from leaking any case related material to the media.
Ravi also sought directions to the central government to take suitable actions against India Today, News18, Times Now and various other news channels under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, for compromising her fair trial rights and privacy.
In her plea, the activist also sought to restrain the news channels from publishing any extracts from her private chats.
According to the petition, Ravi is being attacked by the police and some media houses, based on leaked investigated information and prejudicial press briefings, violating her right to free trial and affecting justice administration.
Raising concerns over Ravi's arrest reports, senior advocate Amit Sibal said that this was 'the most unfortunate case' where the media was trampling over citizens' rights to gain few TRPs. Sibal said that the Police seemed to be a party to media's intentions.
"Police appears to be the driving force of this infraction. It is not a barren area anymore," Sibal argued.
Denying the claims, Solicitor Tushar Mehta said that the police did not leak any information and could file an affidavit stating the same, Bar and Bench reported.
Sibal argued saying that the facts spoke otherwise. According to the media houses, they received records from the department, Sibal added.
However, Mehta said that Ravi was 'calling for media attention'.
After hearing both sides, the court issued notice to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), News 18, and Times Now. It also directed Mehta to file an affidavit by Friday. The court noted that India Today was already being represented through Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah.
The court, on February 16, had directed the police to hand over the copy of the FIR and related documents to Ravi. The court also directed to provide Ravi copies of the arrest memo and remand paper which was placed for her custodial interrogation.
The other accused - advocate and activist Nikita Jacob and activist Shantanu Muluk - have secured transit bail. Jacob was granted protection for three weeks starting from February 17 to enable the applicant to approach the competent court for seeking appropriate relief, the court statement read. Muluk, on the other hand, was granted 10-day transit pre-arrest bail by the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court.