Pegasus Spyware : Supreme Court constitutes 3-Member Panel

Chaini Parwani –

Published On: October 28, 2021 at 15:00 IST

The Supreme Court constituted an independent committee of technical experts to investigate the Pegasus Surveillance matter, stating that the Centre did not make an effort to advocate its stand on the issue

The Apex Court demanded the committee to scrutinize the allegations rigorously and present the status before Court and further adjourned the hearing after eight weeks.

The Court appointed a three-member panel, to work under the supervision of former Supreme Court Judge R V Raveendran.

The panel will comprise Dr Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Prabaharan P and Ashwin Anil Gumaste.

Justice R V Raveendran is a highly-respected member of the community and practised as a Judge in the Supreme Court from 9 September 2005 and retired on 15 October 2011.

Justice R V Raveendran has delivered judgments in Landmark cases, such as those on the OBC reservation and even the 1993 Bombay bombings.

Further Justice R V Raveendran was part of the RM Lodha Committee, which was set up in 2015 to reform the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Dr Naveen Kumar Chaudharyis the Dean of National Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar and a specialist in Cyber Security and has drafted more than 27 papers and articles in Journals, Magazines and Newsletters.

Prof Chaudhary has also received the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee Commendation award for publishing an insightful document on Space Technology Capacity Building in 2015.

Dr Prabharan P is a professor at Kerala’s Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham School of Engineering and an expert in Cybersecurity.

 The Bench highlighted while introducing Dr Prabharan “His areas of interest are malware detection, critical infrastructural security, complex binary analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Dr Gumaste is Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

The Bench highlighted Dr Gumaste stating that “He has been granted 20 US patents and has published over 150 papers and authored 3 books in his field. He has received several National Awards including the Vikram Sarabhai Research Award (2012) and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (2018). He has also held the position of Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.”

The Supreme Court has constituted the panel to “Probe the falsity and to discover the truth in Pegasus row… Violation of a citizen’s Right to Privacy is a serious matter and it needs to be examined.”

Further, the Bench highlighted that “No specific denial” by the Centre (about the use of Pegasus software to snoop on private citizens) was given.

Furthermore, the Bench stated, “Thus we have no option but to accept the submissions of Petitioner Prima Facie and thus we appoint an expert committee whose function will be overseen by the Supreme Court.”

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

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