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Toolkit not Seditious? :Delhi Court to Reserve Order on Disha Ravi’s Bail Plea

Toolkit not Seditious ? : Delhi Court to Reserve Order on Disha Ravi’s Bail Plea

After a 3 hour long Court hearing in the Patiala House Court in Delhi on February 23, 2021, regarding the matter of lawyer environmentalist and engineer, Disha Ravi, being arrested for the supposed offence of sedition under Section 124A IPC, 1860 and being accused for sharing and creating the toolkit for the farmers protest, the court reserved its order on the bail application of the 22-yr old. 

Disha was arrested on February 13 after which she was kept in judicial custody for a period of 3 days. The Court upon hearing the matter questioned the police on where there was any existing evidence the toolkit had any connection to the violence that happened on the January 26. Additional Solicitor General S.V.Raju, representing the Delhi Police accused her for creation of the toolkit saying that she was advocating for a pro-khalistan state and was even part of organizations and conspiracies that created instability and unrest in the country more so in the midst of the farmers’ protest. He says, “This was not just a toolkit. The real plan was to defame India and create unrest here”.

The Court exclaimed -

“What exactly is the evidence collected by you against this lady connecting her to the violence perpetuated on Jan 26?Is there any evidence, or are we required to merely work on surmises, conjectures?” 

The ASG said that the police is still investigating to find if there is any evidence that exists to link the two directly but either way ASG argues that, “The conspiracy is not that I knew a particular person and told them to commit violence, but that I created a document which I knew and intended to incite violence. The conspiracy is in the meeting of the minds”

The police suspected that the accused deleted whatsapp chats and messages, emails and any other evidence after she became aware that legal action might be taken against her. This deleting of evidence, ASG believes, proves that she has a “guilty mind”.

Advocate Siddarth Agarwal representing Disha Ravi said, “I am a girl 22 years of age, living in Bangalore, a graduate, whose history, geography, past, present or future, have nothing to do with Khalistan". 

ASG believes that the toolkit created “disaffection against and among the country”. Agarwal disagrees with the statement and argues that this cannot be regarded as seditious. 

He said, "The upshot of 124A is an utterance or communication. If the communication here is of the Toolkit, there is no disaffection in the Toolkit. Neither on a plain reading, nor on a reading through the ASG's eyes. Their case is not that the Toolkit is seditious but that these persons are bad".

Agarwal argued to note that the co-accused have been granted anticipatory bail by the High Court of Bombay, thus agreeing that his client Disha would appear in investigations only if bail is granted to her. “My purpose is merely seeking a balance between my right to liberty and their right to investigate. The balance was in their favour on the first day, but now it's in my favour”, he said.

He further submitted, “Their case is that whatever has happened anywhere in the world is because of this Toolkit. In Rome, some graffiti was stuck on the embassy, or on the Red Fort a flag hoisted, their case is that it's all because of the Toolkit...It merely tells people to come forward, join the march and go back home...This march was permitted by the Delhi Police. It was on the basis of this that people came forward", 

ASG continued, "This is only a facade, they took advantage of farmers' protests and furthered their agenda. Innocent persons would think it was only for farmers protests", believing Disha has covered up her tracks by deleting any relevant evidence.

During hearing, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana went on to ask, “To satisfy my judicial conscience, I need you to answer, if I am a person emotionally attached to a particular movement/cause, and for the same I get involved with persons who have different methods without being aware can the same imputation be made against this person also? If I've approached a dacoity for donations, can the imputation of dacoity be invoked against me also?”

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