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‘This is very bad’: Delhi HC pulls up Centre for no response in toolkit case

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New Delhi, May 18, 2021-
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for not filing its reply on a plea by climate activist Disha Ravi seeking to restrain police from leaking media any investigation material in connection with FIR against her in the toolkit case.

The court made some strong remarks after it was told the Centre has not filed a response to Ravi’s plea so far.

Justice Rekha Palli told Centre’s counsel: “For Union of India, is there no last and final opportunity? This is very bad.” The court emphasised if the reply were not filed on time, then what is the meaning of the court saying it is the last opportunity. “I cannot understand that. What is the sanctity of last and final opportunity,” added Justice Palli. On March 17, the court had granted a final opportunity to the Centre to file its reply on the petition.

Central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul informed the court that due to Covid-19, not many officials were coming to the office, due to which the response in the matter could not be filed. After Digpaul’s submissions, the court said it will not impose any cost on the Centre and gave six more weeks to file its response.

The High Court has posted the matter for further hearing in August.

On February 13, the Delhi police arrested Ravi for alleged role in sharing on social media a “toolkit” in connection with the ongoing farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws. On February 23, Ravi was granted bail by a trial court.

In the plea, Ravi also sought to restrain media from publishing the content of any private chats, including WhatsApp, between her and third parties. She claimed to be severely aggrieved and prejudiced by the media trial in connection with her arrest and the ongoing investigation.

Ravi also claimed the police first “leaked investigative material”, like alleged WhatsApp chats, which were only in possession of the investigating agency.

In an earlier order, the High Court had asked media houses to ensure that no leaked investigation material is broadcast as it could affect the probe. The court also directed Delhi Police to comply with its stand in the affidavit, where it claimed that the information was not leaked, nor does it intend to leak any probe details to the press. (Agency)

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