Disha arrest: DCW notice to Delhi police

DCW notice to Delhi police
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DCW notice to Delhi police

Highlights

Amidst outrage over the arrest of 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi in the toolkit case, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Tuesday issued a notice to Delhi police to explain why they did not produce her before a court in Bengaluru before being shifted to the national capital and why she was not provided a lawyer of her choice.

Bengaluru: Amidst outrage over the arrest of 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi in the toolkit case, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Tuesday issued a notice to Delhi police to explain why they did not produce her before a court in Bengaluru before being shifted to the national capital and why she was not provided a lawyer of her choice.

It may be recalled that Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava defended the activist's arrest, saying the action was taken as per law and it "does not differentiate between a 22-year-old or a 50-year-old" and it is "false when people say that there were lapses" in the arrest.

Taking suo moto cognisance of media reports, DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal wrote to Delhi police seeking a report by February 19 "considering the gravity of the matter". "Activists were quoted in media as saying that Disha was taken to Delhi from Bengaluru by police with no disclosure of her whereabouts, not even to her parents.

It was also alleged in the media by some activists that she was taken to Delhi from Bengaluru without first producing her before a local court for securing transit remand. It has been further alleged in media reports that Disha Ravi was produced before the court in Delhi without a lawyer of her choice being present in the court," the letter said.

Maliwal also quoted a Delhi High Court order of 2019, "Endeavour should be made to obtain transit remand after producing the arrestee before the nearest magistrate...unless exigencies of the situation warrant otherwise." She also quoted Article 22(1) of the Constitution which says that every person arrested has the right to be defended by a "legal practitioner of his/her choice".

Against this background, Maliwal asked police to provide the Commission a copy of the FIR registered in the matter, reasons for allegedly not producing Disha before the local court for transit remand and reasons for allegedly not providing the lawyer of her choice when she was produced before the court in Delhi.

The Delhi Police arrested 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi for allegedly sharing the toolkit related to the farmers' protests against Centre's agricultural laws on social media. Ravi was arrested by the cyber crime unit of Delhi Police from her house in North Bengaluru on Saturday.

Later she was sent to five-day police custody, even as activists and lawyers accused police of violating guidelines by not procuring a transit remand from a Bengaluru court.

She was instead produced before the duty magistrate in Delhi, who is "by no means the nearest magistrate as required by clause (2) of Article 22", it said adding Delhi Police have failed to follow any of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

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