SC verdict on use of Pegasus spyware today

CJI Ramana-led bench to deliver verdict on use of Pegasus spyware on October 27

The pleas are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus

Representative image. Credit: iStock

The Supreme Court will pass orders on Wednesday on a plea to probe the allegations of snooping on citizens, particularly Opposition leaders, journalists, activists through Isreal's Pegasus spyware.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice N V Ramana will pronounce the judgement on October 27, according to the cause list available on the Supreme Court's website.

The court had on September 13 reserved its order on interim directions to be issued on a batch of petitions for an independent probe into the use of the spyware. It had indicated to form a technical experts committee to examine the matter.

The Centre, for its part, had also proposed to constitute an expert panel, comprising of independent members, to examine the allegations. It also assured to disclose details before the experts' panel.

However, the government had declined to file a detailed affidavit, saying the use or non-use of a particular software can't be debated in such a manner since it involved questions of national security and might alert potential terrorist or terror organisations to develop counter-measures.

The court, for its part, said it did not want any details which compromised with the national security but wanted to know if any inquiry had been ordered by the government.

On July 18, an international investigative consortium reported that many Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen and journalists were among the 50,000 numbers that were potentially targeted by the Israeli company NSO Group’s phone hacking software. 

A batch of petitions including those by advocate M L Sharma, CPI(M) MP John Brittas, N Ram, former IIM professor Jagdeep Chokkar, Narendra Mishra, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Rupesh Kumar Singh, S N M Abdi and Editors Guild of India were filed for an independent probe into the matter.

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