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'Being Editor of Toolkit Not An Offence': Delhi Court Grants Bail to Activist Disha Ravi

Climate activist Disha Ravi leaves after a hearing in a 'toolkit' case at Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

Climate activist Disha Ravi leaves after a hearing in a 'toolkit' case at Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

The climate change activist was earlier arrested for alleged involvement in sharing a toolkit backing the ongoing farmers' protest.

A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to climate change activist Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with allegedly being involved in sharing a "toolkit" on social media related to the farmers' protest, terming the evidence produced by police as scanty and sketchy. The creation of a WhatsApp group or being the editor of an "innocuous Toolkit" is not an offence, said the court.

Later on Tuesday night, Ravi was released from Tihar jail after prison authorities completed all formalities regarding her release, said an official.

The sessions court of Patiala House allowed the bail plea of Ravi. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana granted bail on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 1,00,000 with two surety in like amount, noting the accused had absolutely no criminal antecedents.

"Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence, I do not find any palpable reason to breach the rule of bail for a 22-year-old girl who has absolutely no criminal antecedent," the judge said. Ravi, facing charges of conspiracy and sedition, was arrested by a Cyber Cell team of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru and brought to Delhi. Her police custody ends today.

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The Delhi Police had contended that the Google document tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to back the farmers' protest and then deleted, was created by Ravi and two other activists -- lawyer Nikita Jacob and activist Shantanu Muluk.

"In my considered opinion, creation of a WhatsApp group or being editor of an innocuous Toolkit is not an offence," said Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana.

It would be worthwhile to observe that there is nothing on record to suggest that the applicant accused subscribed to any secessionist idea, he added.

"Except for a bare assertion, no evidence has been brought to my notice to support the contention that any violence took place at any of the Indian Embassies pursuant to the sinister designs of the accused and her coconspirators," the judge said, allowing bail considering the "scanty and sketchy evidence on record".

"I do not find any palpable reasons to breach the general rule of bail against a 22-year-old young lady, with absolutely blemish free criminal antecedents and having firm roots in the society, and send her to jail."

Ravi had earlier moved the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain police from leaking to the media any probe material in relation to the FIR lodged against her. The petition also sought to restrain the media from publishing the content or extract of any private chats, including those on WhatsApp, between her and third parties.

A Delhi court had on February 14 sent Ravi to five day police custody after the agency said her custodial interrogation was required to probe an alleged larger conspiracy against the government of India and to ascertain her alleged role relating to the Khalistan movement.

A toolkit is a document created to explain any issue. It also provides information on what one needs to do to address the issue. This might include information about petitions, details about protests and mass movements.

(With inputs from agencies)

first published:February 23, 2021, 16:04 IST
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