Pegasus Spyware: CJI says snooping Allegations if true, are serious

Shivangi Prakash

Published on August 05, 2021, at 01:27 PM

On Thursday, the Supreme Court began hearing a batch of petitions seeking a Court-supervised probe into the Pegasus snooping case.

The Central Government is accused of snooping on lawmakers, activists, and journalists in the country using Pegasus spyware, created by Israeli business NSO Group.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared on behalf of petitioner N Ram and others, described Pegasus as a rogue technology that enters our life without our awareness.

 “It is an assault on the privacy, dignity and values of our Republic,” Sibal said.

In his observation, Chief Justice NV Ramana said there was no doubt that the allegations of spying, if true, are serious.

The reports of snooping came in 2019, I do not know whether any efforts were made to get more information,” the CJI said. 

I am not going into facts of each case; some people claim phones were intercepted. There is a Telegraph Act for complaints,” Justice NV Ramana added.

The spyware is exclusively offered to Government agencies, according to Sibal, and it cannot be purchased by private companies. It was stated, “NSO technology is participating in the international arena.”

Journalists, public personalities, constitutional authorities, judicial officers, and academicians were all targeted by the malware, according to Sibal, and the Government must explain who bought it.

 “Where was the hardware placed? Why did not the Government register FIR?” he asked, adding that “all I want is that (the Court) issue a notice to the Union of India”.

Journalists, the Editors Guild of India, a Rajya Sabha MP, and an advocate have filed petitions in the case. Senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas of the Communist Marxist Party of India (Marxist), and advocate ML Sharma are among the names on the list.

Journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, SNM Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh, and Ipsa Shatakshi, who are suspected of being among the Pegasus spyware’s probable targets, have also approached the Supreme Court.

The pleas largely requested that the subject be investigated by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge.

The parties have been instructed to serve copies of the order to the Government of India.

The matter will now be heard next on 10th August.

Read more: The Pegasus Controversy: It’s Implications in India

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