No inquiry into Snoopgate, Centre tells apex court

No inquiry into Snoopgate, Centre tells apex court

 The Union government on Friday told the Supreme Court that it would not initiate any inquiry into the alleged illegal surveillance of a woman architect in Gujarat by the Narendra Modi government in 2009.

The Centre’s assertion came amid the apex court expressing its concern towards a plea filed by the woman on her right to privacy. A bench of Justices Ranjana P Desai and N V Ramana, however, asked the woman to approach the Gujarat High Court after senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for her father and her, questioned the state government’s ongoing investigation in the case.

In light of Law Minister Kapil Sibal’s recent public stand on the issue, Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, in a recording before the apex court, said there was no proposal to appoint a commission of inquiry. Sibal, who earlier asserted that the UPA government would appoint a judge for a commission of inquiry to look into snoopgate, recently made a U-turn with the stand that the next government would be left with the responsibility of the probe.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan tried to intervene in the matter on behalf of suspended IAS officer Pradeep Sharma, but the court did not allow him to, saying that it was concerned only with the petition filed by the woman. “We are not concerned about what you say at the moment. We are concerned about what the woman has to say. We do not want to go into other issues. We are not going to link this petition with any other plea,” the bench said.

Sharma filed an interlocutory application seeking an independent probe on the snooping of the 32-year-old woman in 2009. The court asked Gujarat’s Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta to explain the stand of the state government. He, however, tried to leave the issue to the court’s wisdom; but the bench demanded a specific reply from Mehta on whether the Gujarat government was willing to stop the inquiry or not. Mehta sought permission to seek further instructions on the matter.

The woman, along with her father, on Thursday approached the court seeking the quashing of the inquiry initiated, or proposed to be initiated, by the Centre and Gujarat government. The petition claimed the woman was satisfied with the safety measures taken by the state government when her life was “under threat” and said the court should put an end to the “sinister campaign” that was targetting her and her family’s reputation.

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