Pegasus Hearing: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Government
The Supreme Court of India has issued notice on the petitions seeking an independent inquiry into the revelations around the Israeli spyware Pegasus.
The apex court bench, presided by Chief Justice Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, has sought the central government's response on allegations of surveillance.
Digital platform The Wire has so far reported names of 151 individuals—journalists, politicians, activists—whose phones could've been targets of illegal surveillance. Post this, some journalists along with Editors Guild of India and Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas and others, came to the top court seeking formation of a Special Investigating Team. The petitioners told the court that the government must divulge whether the software was used by it or any of its agencies.
Also Read: Pegasus Scandal: Who Should Investigate?
In response, the central government has proposed to set up a committee which will consist of independent members to look into the issue. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta on Tuesday told the court that this case involves issues of national security. No country will divulge which software is used and not used — it is an issue of national security, he said.
Let the committee of experts report of the court. It will not be our officers. We will place everything before the committee. If there is some illegitimate use of anything then it cannot be countenanced. I do not think there can be anything more fair than this.Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General
The government's stand is that "we do not wish to say it publicly", the Solicitor General said.
The bench observed that it would not ask the government to disclose any information related to the defence of the nation. But, the court said, the issue in this case is that some eminent people have alleged their phones were tapped.
The top court has granted the government 10 days time to file its reply. The bench observed that in the meantime, it will decide what further course of action is required in this case.