Ground Report | New Delhi: SC notice to central government; The Supreme Court has sent a notice to the central government in the Pegasus case, seeking its response on the petitions seeking a court-monitored inquiry into the matter.
Last month, there were reports in the media that said that the central government allegedly got the Israeli spyware Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists, and journalists. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said it would take further decisions, including the government’s request to get the matter probed by a committee of independent experts.
The bench said that it will hear the matter next after 10 days. During the hearing, the central government argued that in the interest of national security, any software used for surveillance cannot be publicly discussed.
SC notice to central government
She also said that she is ready to give the details of this monitoring to the proposed committee of experts and she can submit its report to the Supreme Court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said on behalf of the government that the government and the army use various types of software to keep anti-national and extremist activities under control.
“No government can make public the information about what software it is using so that terrorist networks can change their systems and escape,” he said. Kapil Sibal, counsel for the petitioners, said, “We do not intend to get the security details, but the government should tell whether it used Pegasus or not.”
The Supreme Court said that it does not want to force the government to disclose any information related to national security, but it wants to know whether orders were given for alleged surveillance of common people. 11 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court on the Pegasus case.
Earlier on Monday, the Central Government had told the Supreme Court that a group of experts in the field would investigate the allegations of Pegasus espionage. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had said in an affidavit, a bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose also held that the Centre’s two-page affidavit is not sufficient to satisfy the issues raised by various petitioners.
Reply in 10 days
Listing the matter for further hearing after 10 days, the Chief Justice said, “We expected a comprehensive reply, but you filed a limited affidavit.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that the government is ready to place all the facts before a technical committee consisting of neutral and independent experts.
It is submitted that I categorically deny any and all allegations made against the respondents in the above petition and other related petitions,
The court is hearing a batch of petitions seeking various directions, including an SIT probe, a judicial inquiry, and a direction to the government on whether it had used Pegasus software to spy on citizens.