SC: MP John Brittas seek probe on Pegasus Snooping Scandal

Snehal Upadhyay-

The Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, John Brittas approached the Supreme Court seeking a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the Pegasus snooping scandal.

The plea contended that snooping, phone tapping, wiretapping, line bugging are ways to invade an individual’s privacy.

The right to privacy is a Fundamental Right that comes under Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) of the Indian Constitution, which gives a right of personal autonomy to an individual.

The plea highlights that any authorized snooping can only be done in India per the procedures of lawful interceptions mandated by the laws under the provisions of Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act 1885, Section 69 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2000, Section 92 of CrPC and Rule 419(a) of the Indian Telegraph Rules.

The petitioner highlighted a report and said, “These numbers in the leaked list are allegedly the “target list” of phones hacked /to be hacked by the Pegasus spyware product sold by Israel’s NSO Group. The target list is said to contain 136 numbers of prominent politicians, judges, journalists, businessmen, rights activists and even heads of the State in the world, including that of India,”

Earlier, a petition was filed in Supreme Court, which stated for a monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping scandal.

The petitioner contended that the scandal is an attack on the democracy of India, which involves concern for national security and the Independence of the Judiciary.

“Pegasus scandal is a matter of grave concern and an attack on the Indian democracy, country’s security and judiciary. The widespread use of surveillance is morally disfiguring. National security implications of this software are huge,” the plea said.

Pegasus is an Israel based spyware firm that can track data, infect mobile phones and other electronic devices. The firm said that it sells devices only to “vetted governments” and not to private entities. 

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