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Pegasus snooping: Supreme Court stays West Bengal’s Justice Lokur commission probe

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said there cannot be a parallel inquiry in the matter when the court-appointed panel has already been inquiring into the episode.

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The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the inquiry proceedings into the Pegasus snooping case by a commission led by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur set up by the West Bengal government.

The bench comprising Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said there cannot be a parallel inquiry in the matter when the court-appointed panel has already been inquiring into the episode. The Apex Court has also issued notice to the Lokur commission.

CJI Ramana asked West Bengal counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi as to what happened to his oral undertaking that the state government won’t take the matter further.

To this, Singhvi replied that the state government conveyed to the commission not to do anything till the judgment from the Apex Court comes. However, he added that the state government does not control the commission.

Also Read: Pegasus snooping: Supreme Court stays West Bengal’s Justice Lokur commission probe

The top court took note of the plea filed by the NGO Global Village Foundation as per which the investigation process continued even after the West Bengal government’s assurance in the Supreme Court that the 2-member commission, headed by Justice Lokur, to investigate the Pegasus case by the West Bengal government, did not take any action.

The petition has also demanded to quash the order of setting up a commission by the state government to investigate the Pegasus case.

In November, the West Bengal government constituted the 2-member commission with Justice Lokur and former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya.

Also Read: Allahabad High Court orders fresh probe into attempt to murder case in Ballia

The Supreme Court had on October 27 appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for the “illegal” surveillance of politicians, journalists, government functionaries and elected officials.

The top court also noted that mere invocation of national security by the State does not render the court a mute spectator and that every Indian citizen needs protection against the violation of their privacy.

Pegasus

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