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Pegasus snooping row: SC reserves verdict after government refuses to file detailed affidavit

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that whether the software was used or not is not a matter for public domain.

Pegasus snooping row: SC reserves verdict after government refuses to file detailed affidavit-dnm
New Delhi, First Published Sep 13, 2021, 2:08 PM IST
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The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its judgement on a batch of pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged surveillance of certain people using the Pegasus spyware.

The development comes as the Centre has expressed unwillingness to file an affidavit in the matter, citing concerns over national security.

"We thought the Government will file a counter-affidavit and will decide further course of action. Now the only issue to be considered is the interim orders to be passed," the CJI said at the outset, Bar and Bench reported.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana that whether a particular software was used or not can't be a subject matter of affidavit as it has its own pitfalls.

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"Existence of whether a particular software was used or not cannot become part of an affidavit or subject of public discourse. Target groups, terror groups should not know what software is being used," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court.

"We will set up a committee of domain experts. The petitioners who say their numbers were put under interception can be considered by the committee. The committee report will be placed before your lordships," the Solicitor General said.

The Court said that it will pass the order within 2-3 days. It also added that the Solicitor General can mention the matter before it in the meanwhile if there is any "rethinking" on its part.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli repeatedly said that it does not want any information relating to national security and that it was only concerned with allegations of rights violation raised by ordinary citizens through illegal use of the spyware, Bar and Bench reported.

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