The Toolkit Case has been a subject that has caught the attention of members from all over the country. The arrest of a 21-year-old climate change activist on grounds of sedition for the alleged sharing of a toolkit that was linked to pro-Khalistani organisation Poetic Justice Foundation(PJF) has seen responses and opinions pouring in from all over the country.
Disha Ravi, a Bangalore based 21-year-old climate change activist was arrested by the Delhi Police from her home on 14th February on grounds of sedition, for the alleged sharing of a toolkit to cause disharmony in the country and instigate violence. Ravi was first produced before a Delhi Court where she was remanded to 5 days in police custody. When produced again she was remanded to 3 days of judicial custody. She was again produced before the Court on 23rd February where she was again sent to police custody for another day for further questioning. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma due to her pending bail application had disposed off the police application made for 4 days of additional custody.
The main contention that was raised was with respect to evidence that linked the violence on January 26th to the toolkit which was shared. The prosecution claimed that the toolkit that was shared by Swedish climate change activist Great Thunberg was created by Disha Ravi and Ravi had also attended Zoom meetings with members of the PJF. The prosecution represented by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, also alleged the toolkit as part of an ‘international conspiracy to malign the image of India in the garb of the farmer’s protests’, while further contending the need to question Ravi with co-accused Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob for further information. The defence counsel Advocate Siddharth Agarwal refuted the claims while stating the toolkit was merely a document that explains the organisation of peaceful protests while further pointing out that the police could not point out a link between the toolkit and the violent protests. The counsel contended that
“The toolkit talks about digital strike, this doesn’t mean the Gulf Strike. Physical action called for in Embassies, Ambani, Adani offices – doesn’t mean throwing stones. These are tools for people to express their feelings across the globe.”
Delhi Court Order
The Court ordered Dish Ravi to be released on bail mainly on grounds that there was scanty evidence to support the police claims of the toolkit being prepared for the incitement of violence. The Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana of the Patiala House Court Complex in his order stated that
“Considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record, I do not find any palpable reason to deny bail.”
The bail was granted on the grounds furnishing of a personal bond of Rupees one lakh and two sureties of Rupees One Lakh each. The Court while highlighting the importance of right to freedom of speech stated that
“The right to dissent is firmly enshrined under Article 19 of The Constitution of India. In my considered opinion, freedom of speech and expression includes the right to seek a global audience. There are no geographical barriers to communication. A Citizen has the fundamental rights to use the best means of imparting and receiving communication as long as the same is permissible under the four corners of law and as such have access to an audience abroad.”
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