'Toolkit' not inciting violence nor seditious, says Former SC judge on Disha Ravi arrest 

Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Deepak Gupta said that he could not see anything "seditious" about the documents in 'toolkit' which led to the arrest of 21-year old climate activist Disha Ravi.

On 14th February, Ravi was remanded to 5-day custody by a Delhi Magistrate. Ravi had been arrested from Bengaluru in a case registered over the "toolkit" shared by international activist Greta Thunberg related to the farmers' protest on social media for offences relating to sedition by creating disaffection against India, spreading communal disharmony and criminal conspiracy. 

"Every citizen of this country has a right to oppose the government so long as the opposition is peaceful", said Justice Deepak Gupta during a panel discussion on NDTV on the legal proceedings pertaining to Ravi's arrest. 

After saying that he read the 'toolkit' document as available in the public domain and found no violence or incitement in it, the former judge commented, " I don't see what is seditious about this document. One may or may not agree with the protestors, that is a different matter. But to say that this is sedition is totally not understanding the law", remarked Justice Gupta.

"Unfortunately, sedition law is being misused," said Justice Gupta, who has also spoken earlier about the rampant misuse of the colonial law to curb dissent.

When asked whether there had been the application of judicial mind while sending Ravi to judicial custody, Justice Gupta responded, "I've seen many cases where they seem to have forgotten that bail, not jail is the rule. At this stage, they don't even read the documents. They just see what the police ask them. I know a detailed scrutiny at this stage is not required, but at least they should apply their mind. The police may not have read the Supreme Court judgement, but I would have expected the judge to have at least read it".

Senior lawyer Sidharth Luthra, while echoing Justice Gupta's sentiments, noted the bringing of Ravi in Delhi without being produced before the Magistrate in Bengaluru would need to be scrutinised, along with the constitutional parameters under Article 22 of the Constitution of India such as access to a lawyer etc.

Vikas Singh, a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, observed that the State had become too intolerant to dissent

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