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HomePoliticsIndiaSupreme Court-appointed panel to probe Pegasus spyware use in India

Supreme Court-appointed panel to probe Pegasus spyware use in India

The supreme court said that the panel will prepare its report expeditiously and posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks

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The Supreme Court today appointed a committee of experts to inquire into the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of Indian citizens. A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said apex court RV Raveendran would be the head of the three-member committee.

The court said that there had been no specific denial by the union government in the issue, thus “we have no option but to accept the submissions of petitioner prima facie and we appoint an expert committee whose function will be overseen by the Supreme Court”.

Citing national security, the union government had earlier refused to file a detailed affidavit in the matter. The 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 Supreme Court said that the panel would prepare its report expeditiously and posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks.

Several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored probe into the reports of the government allegedly using Israeli software Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists and journalists. The union government had earlier told the apex court that it was willing to set up a committee of independent experts to examine all aspects of the alleged Pegasus snooping row. It had maintained that what software was used for the interception in the interest of national security can’t be open for public debate.

The union government had offered to set up a Committee comprising independent experts to inquire whether Pegasus was used to snoop on phones. It had said the matter can be inquired into by a committee of independent domain experts and the report can be filed before the top court. The government had contended that it is willing to place the details of surveillance before the expert committee proposed to be constituted by it to examine the issues and the committee can give a report to the Supreme Court.

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