DISHA RAVI TOOLKIT CASE
Author: Shaik Abdul Matheen
“Toolkit” – a common term used by social activists for campaign material. It is a guide or booklet created to explain a cause or an issue. Its purpose is to provide access to data to those in remote areas. The idea is to provide material to educate someone on one’s cause. As Globalization has unlocked the gates of the country, not just the goods are flowing in freely so also the opinions and views of the masses.
The author draws the curtain by introducing the person Disha Ravi, later on, gradually stepping onto the events that occurred recently in the country. To bind the article in a segment, the author crisply focuses on the procedural legal aspects related to the case.
The recent sensational event occurred around the globe, the pop singer Rihanna opinionated about the farmers’ protest and the toolkit posted by the 18-year-old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg. The tweet posted by the worldwide famous personalities gathered a lot of unwanted hype that would threaten the sovereignty of the country which is already in chaos. Though freedom of speech and expression is held high and given at most Importance in a democratic country like India, yet they come at the cost of some responsible restrictions. Implying nothing has to be taken for granted or nothing is absolute.
In the current case, on the 14th of February, a 22-year-old student, Disha Ravi was arrested in Bengaluru on charges of editing a Toolkit related to the ongoing farmers’ protest over the three contentious farm Laws. Disha is a climate change activist and is one of the founding members of the ‘Fridays for Future’ India campaign. This Global movement was started by climate activist Greta Thunberg, where students skip their school on Fridays to demand a clean environment for their future. Regarding the Toolkit, on the same day, the Delhi Police ‘took cognizance’ of the matter and registered the case against the creators of the Toolkit.
There are three charges against Disha. She’s charged under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which is criminal conspiracy, Section 153A of IPC, 1860which is promoting enmity between groups and Section 124A of IPC, 1860 which is sedition. There was no legal representation in this case as it had been said that the legal representation was just nominal.
The Delhi Police also stated that Disha is the Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc and a key conspirator in document formulation and dissemination. And that they collaborated with Pro- khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread disaffection against the Indian State and she was the one who shared the Toolkit document with Greta Thunberg. They alleged that she asked Greta to remove the main document after what they say were incriminating details that accidentally got into the public domain.
The Delhi Police flew down to Bengaluru to arrest Disha Ravi from the place she has been residing. And it was not accompanied with a ‘transit remand order’ from Bengaluru and inter-state arrest norms were violated.
Flaws in carrying out the Criminal Procedure:
Given that there is an evident flaw in carrying out the procedure under the criminal procedural code by the Delhi Police.
The legal and the fundamental rights of climate change activist Disha Ravi were violated. In the following ways,
(1) Her most important fundamental right i.e. Article 22(2) of the Indian Constitution, 1949 was violated. When she had not been produced before the magistrate within a period of 24 hours.
(2) From the aforementioned provisions, it is evident that Disha Ravi’s arrest did not go hand in hand with a ‘transmit remand order’ and can be considered as a flaw on the part of the criminal procedural system.
In the same manner, there were many flaws in the procedural aspects of the criminal administration system.
Disha Ravi was granted Bail. In the order, the judge mentioned that Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the State policies. The judge further stated that, this 5000 years old civilization of ours has never been averse to ideas from varied quarters. The following couplet in Rig Veda embodies our cultural ethos expressing our respect for divergent opinions", and quoted a translation, “Let noble thoughts come from all direction”.
Even though the blunder by not following the procedural laws was committed by one of the pillars of the criminal administration system i.e. Police, it was rectified by its twin pillar of the very same origin i.e. the Judiciary.
Though the intention was nowhere to abridge the legal and fundamental rights of the accused i.e. Disha Ravi in the current case as the harm was done, the questions were raised, yet the correction of the same follows.
120B. (1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, or imprisonment for a term of 2 years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.
153A. Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
 124A. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, a shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine
22(2) Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate
Niharendu Dutt Mazumdar v. Emperor AIR 1942 FC22