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There should be balance between right to privacy, freedom of speech, sovereignty and integrity of country: Delhi HC

BY , Feb 19, 2021 11:15 AM - REPORT AN ERROR

There should be balance between right to privacy, freedom of speech, sovereignty and integrity of country: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court while hearing the plea of "climate activist" Disha Ravi on Friday said there should be a balance between the right to privacy and freedom of speech of people, and sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh said, "There is no doubt that regulations of content have been a very contested issue across the world and India is no exception to it."
Court's remarks come during the hearing on a plea moved by Disha Ravi in the 'Toolkit case', seeking direction to Delhi Police not to leak any investigation material in relation to the FIR filed against her or any third party, including the media.

After the detailed hearing in the matter court slated the matter for March 17 for further hearing and directed the respondents to file their replies and rejoinders in the matter.

"....While a journalist cannot be asked to disclose their source if input but they shall ensure the authentication of the input on their part," the Court said.

Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal who appeared for Disha Ravi sought directions to three News Channels (TV Today, Times Now and News 18) to take down reports from their online platforms with references to the "so-called WhatsApp conversations".

He also sought directions to the said media houses to be restrained from disseminating any particulars of the investigation not part of public record. He alleged Delhi Police leaked the crucial information of the investigation to the media.

Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared for Delhi Police denied all the allegations made by the petitioner.

He said, "she (Disha Ravi) says messages are from February 3, her phone was seized on February 13, she could have leaked it herself from between February 3 and 13 while her phone was with her."

Delhi Police in a detailed affidavit states that the allegations made by the petitioner against it are incorrect, and Police has not leaked and shared any input and data with the media.

Meanwhile, lawyers representing the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed the court that as of now no complaint has been received in this regard.

Disha Ravi, accused in the toolkit case, approached the Delhi High Court on Thursday seeking a direction to the Delhi Police to not leak any investigation material in relation to FIR filed against her to any third party, including the media.

Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist was arrested from Bengaluru in connection with the formulation and dissemination of the 'Toolkit' document, in the ongoing farmers' protest.

Earlier, the Delhi Police sent a communication to Google seeking registration details and activity log of the account, through which a "toolkit" related to the farmers' protest was created and uploaded on the social media platform.

Two e-mail IDs, one Instagram account, and one Uniform Resource Locator (URL) were mentioned in the toolkit and police have asked for details from the respective platforms.

The police had registered an FIR against unidentified persons in connection with the creators of the 'toolkit'

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