‘Allegations serious if reports true’: SC on Pegasus row

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said allegations of the Pegasus-related snooping are serious, if the reports in the newspapers are correct, and sought the Centre’s stand on petitions, including by the Editors Guild of India and senior journalist N. Ram, seeking a probe into the Israeli spyware matter.

Opening the argument, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Ram, submitted before a bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant that Pegasus is a rogue technology, and it is entirely illegal, as it infiltrates into our lives through telephone, and it hears and watches. Sibal emphasised that it is an assault on privacy and human dignity.

At this, Chief Justice Ramana said: “Before going into all that, we have certain questions. No doubt, the allegations are serious, if reports in the newspapers are correct.”

However, he noted: “Majority of petitions rely on foreign newspapers, but where is the verifiable material for us to order an inquiry? The surveillance issue came to light 2 years ago, in May 2019. I don’t see any serious effort to raise the issue, why now suddenly?”

Emphasizing that the petitioners who moved the top court are knowledgeable and educated and they should have made effort to collect more material, he clarified: “We do not say that newspaper reports are not believable.”

Responding to this, Sibal said: “I can explain. We do not have access to many materials. The petitions have information about 10 cases of direct infiltration into phones.”

Several petitions have been filed in the top court seeking a court-monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations.

Image courtesy of (File photo)

Share this post