Senior Delhi Police officers have alleged that the lawyers of 21-year-old activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested in the “Toolkit” case, deliberately skipped the court so that she could be detained in police custody instead of on remand.
Disha Ravi who was arrested from Bengaluru on Sundaywas produced in front of Delhi’s Patiala House court. Even when her lawyer was not present in court, Disha Ravi was taken into police custody for five days.
Speaking to India Today TV, senior police officers alleged their lawyers’ absence from the court was part of a planned conspiracy.
When the court found that Disha Ravi’s lawyer was absent, it hired a lawyer from the Delhi legal cell to introduce her. They denied claims that Disha Ravi had to represent herself during the hearing. The officer claimed that once Disha Ravi was taken to Cyber Cell in Dwarka, her lawyers got there immediately.
The police account contradicts claims made by Disha Ravi’s legal team. According to Disha Ravi’s legal advisors, they did not know which court it was to be produced in and she argued her own case in court.
They also raised questions about whether rules were being followed when she was abducted from Bengaluru by Delhi police.
Attorney Rebecca John has alleged that the judge at the Patiala House court in Delhi “shockingly waived his judicial duties”. In a social media post, she alleged the court had failed to ensure that Disha Ravi was legally represented in court.
“Deeply disappointed with the conduct of the judge on duty … who sentenced a young woman to five days in police custody without first making sure that she was represented by a lawyer,” wrote Rebecca John.
“Judges must take their investigative duties seriously and ensure that the mandate of Article 22 of the Constitution is strictly observed,” she said.
“If the defendant was not represented by a lawyer at the time of the hearing, the judge would have had to wait for his lawyer to arrive or, alternatively, give her legal assistance,” she said.
Disha Ravi is the first person to be arrested in the toolkit case by Delhi police. She was arrested for sharing and editing a document intended to support farmers’ protest against the new agricultural laws. The “toolkit,” a generic term used by social activists for campaign material, was tweeted by The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg supports India’s protesting farmers on February 4th.
Delhi police have alleged that Disha Ravi founded a WhatsApp group and worked with a pro-Khalistani Foundation for Poetic Justice to create the Toolkit Document on Discontent against India.
Disha Ravi reportedly told the court on Monday that she had not prepared the document. She said she just finished two lines on February 3rd.