Disha Ravi
Disha Ravi
(Disha Ravi/Facebook)

New Delhi: Climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested for alleged involvement in sharing a toolkit backing the ongoing farmers' protest, moved the Delhi High Court on Thursday seeking to restrain police from leaking to the media any probe material in relation to the FIR lodged against her.

The petition, which is listed before Justice Prathiba M Singh, also seeks to restrain the media from publishing the content or extract of any private chats, including those on WhatsApp, between her and third parties.

Ravi, in her plea, said that 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 1 (police) and several media houses".

She also claimed that her arrest from Bengaluru on February 13 by a Cyber Cell team of Delhi Police was "wholly unlawfully and without basis".

She has contended that in the present circumstances, it was "highly likely" that the general public will perceive the news items "as being conclusive as to the guilt of the petitioner (Ravi)". "In these circumstances, and to restrain the respondents from further violating her privacy, her reputation, and her right to a fair trial, the petitioner is moving the present petition," the plea said.

Her petition has alleged that investigative matters have been leaked to the media and the press briefings by the police are "prejudicial" and "grossly violative of her right to a fair trial and presumption of innocence".

It has claimed that the police first "leaked investigative material" – such as alleged WhatsApp chats -- the substance and details of which were only in the possession of the investigating agency.

Thereafter, the "private alleged WhatsApp chats" were publicised and disseminated by various media houses which was a violation of the provisions of the Cable Televisions Networks (Regulation) Act. It has also claimed that the "media houses have published a one-sided defamatory, suggestive innuendos, and half truths about the petitioner".

Ravi's plea has further contended that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority "have failed to exercise their statutory and self-regulatory powers in ensuring compliance with the Programme Code under the CTN Act and the Code of Ethics of National Broadcasting Standards Association".

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