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SC issues notice on Pegasus pleas; Centre tells ‘has nothing to hide, a national security issue’

 "We need to think how to go ahead with the matter. Presently we will issue notice and list after sometime," the Bench said, as quoted by Bar and Bench.
 

SC issues notice on Pegasus pleas Centre tells has nothing to hide a national security issue-dnm
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Bengaluru, First Published Aug 17, 2021, 2:01 PM IST
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Central government in the batch of petitions seeking probe into the Pegasus snooping row.

While the Centre told the SC that it has “nothing to hide” in the Pegasus row and that the matter concerns “national security”, the top court said the government should reply within ten days on allegations that the Israeli spyware, adding it will decide on a course of action (including the Centre's suggestion of having an expert committee respond to the court confidentially).

The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said, "This is all before the stage of admission. We had thought a comprehensive reply will come but it was a limited reply. We will see, we will also think and consider what can be done."

At the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued against putting out facts of the Pegasus case in the public domain citing national security.

All petitions ask for one thing - Supreme Court inquiry. Yesterday, they asked that they just want the government to answer whether Pegasus was used. This software is purchased by all countries. But which software was used or not is never divulged by any country for national security reasons, Mehta said.
We have nothing to hide from the court. We will place everything before the court mandated committee that will be set up. But it cannot be put out into public through affidavits. Tomorrow, web portals will say military resources were used illegally. Let us have a committee and we will place all information before it, Mehta added.

Several petitions have been filed in the apex court seeking a probe into the findings of a global media investigation, that the Pegasus spyware may have been used to infiltrate phones used by a wide range of targets including critics of the government, as reported by Live Law.

An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile numbers were on an inventory of potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO's Pegasus spyware. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, ace poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, ex-Election Commissioner, 40 journalists among others were found to be on alleged leaked list of potential targets.

The forensic analysis of several mobile phones, consistent with the petitioners, belonging to people listed as potential targets by the safety Lab of Amnesty International have confirmed security breaches.

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