Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal on Tuesday sent a notice to the Delhi Police, seeking information on the arrest of 22-year old climate activist Disha Ravi from Bengaluru. The women’s panel asked the police to reply by February 19.
The letter, addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Cyber Crime cell of the Delhi Police, cited media reports that said Ravi was brought to Delhi from Bengaluru without her parents being informed. It further said that she was brought to the national Capital without being presented before a court in Bengaluru for a transit remand, and was thereafter presented in a Delhi court without a lawyer of her choice.
The letter stated that the commission took suo motu cognisance of the media reports and suggested that the failure of the police to obtain a transit remand was a “very serious matter”. The letter cited a 2019 order by the Delhi High Court that said the police should get a transit remand after producing an arrested person before the nearest magistrate.
“Also, Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India says that every person arrested has the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice,” the letter mentioned.
The women’s panel tweeted a copy of the notice, sent on Tuesday. In the notice, the DCW chief asked the Delhi Police to respond to the commission’s concerns. It asked the police to provide a copy of the First Information Report, details of the “action taken report” on the matter and give reasons on the reported failure of the police in getting a transit remand and providing a lawyer of Ravi’s choice.
Police deny lapses
Earlier on Tuesday, Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava had denied that there were any lapses in Ravi’s arrest.
“As far as Disha’s arrest is concerned, it was done as per the procedures,” he said, while speaking to reporters. “Law does not differentiate between a 22-year-old and a 50-year-old. She was produced before a court which sent her to five-day police custody. It is false when people say that there were lapses in the arrest.”
Ravi was arrested on Saturday from her Bengaluru residence by the crime branch of Delhi Police for sharing and editing a document intended to help the farmers’ protest against the new agricultural laws. The “toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material – was tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in support of India’s protesting farmers on February 4.
Earlier this month, the police, while filing the first information report in the case, said the “toolkit” was aimed at waging a “social, cultural and economic war against the government of India” and creating divisions among various groups in Indian society. Ravi is the first person to be arrested in the case.