SC Defers Hearing PILs On Pegasus Spyware To Feb 25

The SC agreed to shift the hearing that was scheduled for today after taking note of the submissions made by solicitor general for the Centre that he would busy with a money laundering case in another court.
SC Defers Hearing PILs On Pegasus Spyware To Feb 25

Supreme Court of India (SC) | REPRESENTATIVE

The Supreme Court of India (SC) will on February 25, hear several pleas alleging the use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of certain high-profile people in India.

The SC agreed to shift the hearing that was scheduled for today after taking note of the submissions made by solicitor general for the Centre that he would busy with a money laundering case in another court.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, and comprising of Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli were supposed to hear the matter on Wednesday, February 23, according to the cause list uploaded on the website of the Supreme Court.

The Pegasus spyware issue was listed for hearing for the first time since October 27 last year, when the apex court had ordered setting up of a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the allegations of its usage for spying.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, urged the bench to defer the date of hearing from Wednesday to Friday, February 25.

He said, “The Pegasus matters are coming up before your Lordships. I am in part heard before court three in the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) vires matters. I will be on my legs tomorrow from 10.30, if the Pegasus cases can be kept on Friday instead of Wednesday.”

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CJI Ramana replied to it saying, “All right, you please inform the other side.”

The apex court’s website further mentioned that a special bench had listed upto 12 PILs including the ones filed by the Editors Guild of India and veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, for hearing on February 23.

The SC was likely to analyse the report which was filed by the panel appointed in its last hearing. The panel included experts on cyber security, digital forensics, networks and hardware, was asked to “inquire, investigate and determine” whether Pegasus was used for spying on citizens. The probe was supposed to be monitored by former SC judge R V Raveendran.

Notably, the panel members were Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Prabaharan P and Ashwin Anil Gumaste. Its head, Justice Raveendran, who is monitoring the panel, is being assisted by IPS officer Alok Joshi and Sundeep Oberoi, the Chairman of Sub Committee in International Organisation of Standardisation, International Electro-Technical Commission, Joint Technical Committee in monitoring the inquiry of the panel.

In its order on October 27 last year, the SC had asserted that indiscriminate spying on individuals in a democratic country cannot be allowed.

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