Monday, July 4News That Matters

Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on Pegasus next week

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 30

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear next week a PIL filed by noted journalists N Ram, Sashi Kumar and others for a court-monitored SIT probe into the Pegasus scandal.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said the petition would be heard next week after senior Congress leaders and senior advocates Kapil Sibal and AM Singhvi mentioned it before it. Sibal said it was urgent due to its ramifications on national security and civil liberties. Opposition leaders, journalists, members of judiciary were being snooped on and the matter was hitting headlines not just in India, but internationally as well, he added.

As the senior lawyers complained that the court’s Registry was not listing it for urgent hearing, the Chief Justice of India said, “We will hear it next week.”

Ram and others had moved the top court on Tuesday seeking a judge-led independent investigation into alleged snooping by using Israeli spyware Pegasus.

Terming the allegations as an attempt by government agencies to muzzle free speech dissent in India, the petitioners sought a direction to the Centre to disclose if the government or any of its agencies obtained licence for Pegasus spyware and used it, either directly or indirectly, to conduct surveillance in any manner.

“The targeted surveillance using military-grade spyware is an unacceptable violation of the right to privacy which has been held to be a fundamental right under Articles 14 (equality before the law), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) by the Supreme Court,” the plea submitted.

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