Wednesday, June 29News That Matters

Pegasus: Tamil Nadu MP T Thirumaavalavan seeks contempt action against Home Secretary

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14

Tamil Nadu MP T Thirumaavalavan has sought Attorney General KK Venugopal’s consent to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and his predecessor Rajiv Gauba for alleged surveillance of a judge of the Supreme Court and its officials through Pegasus spyware.

He has also sought permission for contempt action against directors of NSO group which owns spyware Pegasus. According to Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, the Supreme Court or a High Court may take action on its own motion or on a motion made by the Advocate-General, or any other person with written consent the Advocate-General. However, an explanation to the provision says, “In this section, the expression “Advocate-General” means,— (a) in relation to the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General.”

An international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware. It had also been reported that phones of a former judge of the Supreme Court and its registrars were allegedly intercepted using the spyware.

The top court had on August 5 expressed surprise that the Pegasus issue came to light in 2019 and no one made any serious attempt to collect verifiable material about snooping.

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