Pegasus case: LIVE UPDATES from Supreme Court

The bench will take up the interim inquiry report submitted by a three-member expert committee constituted by the top court.
Pegasus, Supreme Court, live updates
Pegasus, Supreme Court, live updates

The Supreme Court of India will today consider the report submitted by the three-member expert committee appointed by the top court to probe into the Pegasus surveillance scandal.

The interim report was submitted in February this year, and will be taken up by a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justice Hima Kohli.

On October 27 last year, the Supreme Court had appointed an expert committee headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice RV Raveendran, assisted by Alok Joshi (former IPS Officer) and Dr Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, Sub Committee in (International Organisation of Standardisation/International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee).

Israel-based spyware firm NSO is best known for its Pegasus spyware, which it claims is sold only to “vetted governments” and not to private entities, though the company does not reveal which governments it sells the controversial product to.

An international consortium of news outlets, including the Indian news portal The Wire, had recently released a series of reports indicating that the said the software may have been used to infect the mobile devices of several persons including Indian journalists, activists, lawyers, officials, a former Supreme Court judge and others.

The reports had referred to a list of phone numbers that were selected as potential targets. Upon analysis by a team from Amnesty International, some of these numbers were found to have traces of a successful Pegasus infection, while some showed attempted infection, the reports had said.

A slew of petitions then came to be filed before the top court seeking probe into the allegations.

The petitioners included Advocate ML Sharma, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas, Director of Hindu Group of publications N Ram and founder of Asianet Sashi Kumar, Editors Guild of India, journalists Rupesh Kumar Singh, Ipsa Shatakshi, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, SNM Abidi and Prem Shankar Jha.

Pursuant to that, the Supreme Court had constituted the expert committee.

In its October 2021 judgment, the top court had also berated the central government for raising the argument of national security to defend its case stating that it cannot be an omnibus argument to gain a free pass every time the court exercises judicial review.

In January this year, the expert committee had issued a public notice seeking details from citizens who have a reasonable cause to suspect that their devices were compromised by the Pegasus spyware.

So far, at least 13 people, including journalists N Ram, Siddharth Varadarajan and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta have deposed before the committee.

Live updates from the hearing below.

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