Pegasus case: SC order on Pegasus snooping case today


Senior counsel, HP Sharma, appearing for the family of the journalist, Raman Kashyap, who was killed in the incident, also asked the court to direct the police to apprehend the accused.

The Supreme Court will pronounce its order on Wednesday on a batch of petitions seeking probe into the allegations of snooping on citizens, particularly opposition leaders, journalists, activists through Isreal’s Pegasus spyware.

A Bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana had last month reserved its order on interim directions to be issued on a batch of petitions for an independent probe into the use of the spyware. It had indicated to form a technical experts committee to examine the matter.

While the Centre had proposed to constitute an expert technical committee, comprising of independent members, to examine the allegations, the petitioners had asked the apex court to constitute itself a committee of experts headed by a retired or a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to examine the matter.

However, the government had declined to file a detailed affidavit, saying the use or non-use of a particular software can’t be debated in such a manner since it involved questions of national security and might alert a potential terrorist or terror organisations to develop countermeasures. The court had also said that it did not want any details which compromised with the national security but wanted to know if any inquiry had been ordered by the government.

The Bench had on September 13 while reserving its order on interim directions to be issued on a batch of petitions for an independent probe into the use of the spyware had told the government not to “beating around the bush” on the issue.

The SC is hearing as many as 11 petitions, including one filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking an independent probe into the alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli cyber-intelligence firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus. Other petitioners also include politicians such as Rajya Sabha Member John Brittas, social activist Jagdeep Chhokar, apart from journalists such as N. Ram, Sashi Kumar, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Rupesh Kumar Singh and others.

On July 18, an international investigative consortium reported that many Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen and journalists were among the 50,000 numbers that were potentially targeted by the Israeli company NSO Group’s phone hacking software.

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