New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on a batch of petitions seeking an independent investigation into the alleged Pegasus snooping incident on Tuesday, requesting a response from the Centre within 10 days.
The Supreme Court also stated that it did not want the government to reveal anything that could jeopardise national security.
A top court bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana issued the notice to the Centre, saying it will take up the matter in 10 days and decide what course of action to take.
The bench, which also included Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, informed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the apex court does not want the government to reveal anything that could jeopardise national security.
The Supreme Court stated this after Mehta argued that disclosing the information on the affidavit, as requested by the petitioners in the Pegasus snooping case, would jeopardise national security.
The court is hearing a slew of petitions, including one from the Editors Guild of India, requesting an independent investigation into the matter.
They are related to reports of alleged government snooping on prominent citizens, politicians, and journalists using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
During a previous hearing in the case, the Supreme Court took strong exception to ongoing parallel debates on social media and websites by some petitioners who have filed pleas seeking an independent investigation into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter, and told them to maintain discipline.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana stated that the apex court is not opposed to debates, but that when a case is pending in court, it should be deliberated on here.
Supreme Court issues a notice to Centre on the batch of PILs seeking a court-monitored probe into the alleged use of Pegasus. pic.twitter.com/AEbHgxJyts
— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2021
Over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware, according to an international media consortium.
The Centre has categorically denied the snooping allegations in the Supreme Court, claiming that the petitions are based on ‘conjectures and assumptions.’
The Centre claims that the petitions seeking an independent investigation into the Pegasus snooping allegations are based on “conjectures, surmises, and unsubstantiated media reports,” and that a panel of experts will look into all issues raised.