Pegasus: The issue of Pegasus has raised enough dust over the Union government so much that they have taken a back step and are even avoiding any kind of discussion and debate by terming it issue of national security. From journalists to politicians and opposition parties’ leaders, all of their phones were tapped and their conversations as well as messages were tracked. Why is the Union government headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) being blamed? Simple Pegasus an Israeli company made it clear that it deals only with governments!
With the Pegasus making it to headlines and grabbing everyone’s attention, moreover the opposition parties led by Congress has been protesting about the snooping done by the government on certain amount of people belonging to various sections. Though the Union government has denied all the charges and refused to do any kind of inquiry into the issue, the Supreme Court has taken up the issue and has given a serious retort against the Union government.
The Supreme Court appointed a committee of experts to inquire into the alleged use of spyware Pegasus for surveillance of Indian citizens. A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said that every citizen needs protection against privacy violation and mere invocation of ‘national security by State’ does not render the court a ‘mute spectator’.
Finding material that ‘prima facie merits consideration’, the bench declined the Centre’s plea to appoint an expert panel on its own, saying such a course would violate the settled judicial principle against bias. The top court urged its former judge Justice RV Raveendran to oversee the functioning of the three-member panel and sought a report expeditiously from the committee.
Citing national security, the Centre had earlier refused to file a detailed affidavit in the matter. The top court’s order came while hearing a batch of petitions related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus. Petitioners had urged the apex court to order an independent court-monitored probe into the case.
The court said that the panel will prepare its report expeditiously and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.