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Pegasus snooping: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, says needs time to think over future course of action

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice for admission to the Centre, says we need time to think as to what should be the further course of action.

The bench, led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, continued its hearing on a batch of petitions seeking SIT/judicial probe into the reports of snooping using the Israel spyware Pegasus.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that this is a matter of National Security and the Centre does not wish to discuss this matter in public as this is a sensitive Issue and prayed to the court to form an Investigative committee.

Mr Mehta also assured the bench that the Centre will submit all the reports to the investigative committee as it requires the technical experts to understand the issue, the committee will then submit its report to the Supreme Court.

Thereafter, the bench said, “Issue Notice only to the government. Matter to be listed after 10 days. We will also deliberate upon the course of action.”

The Centre on August 16 had submitted a two-page affidavit, denying all the allegations against them.

The petitions are related to reports of alleged snooping by the government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

Also Read: Judges’ safety: Supreme Court grants states, UTs a week to file counter-affidavits in suo motu PIL

An international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus Spyware.

Opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi; two Union Ministers – Prahlad Singh Patel (Minister of State for Jal Shakti) and Ashwini Vaishnaw (Railways and IT Minister); businessman Anil Ambani; a former CBI chief and at least 40 journalists were on the list on the leaked database of NSO. It is, however, not established that all phones were hacked. The Government has denied all allegations in the matter.

See order below:

16884_2021_31_19_29353_Order_17-Aug-2021

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