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Supreme Court appointed 3-member committee to probe Pegasus snooping row

“Every citizen of the country must be protected from violation of their right to privacy and Pegasus snooping allegation is chilling in nature and court must find out the truth,” the top court said.

Supreme Court appointed 3-member committee to probe Pegasus snooping row-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Oct 27, 2021, 11:30 AM IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed an expert committee to look into Israeli-based Pegasus software snooping to spy on citizens. The court in its opening remark said, “We live in the era of information and we must recognise that while technology is important, it's important to safeguard the right to privacy.” “Every citizen of the country must be protected from violation of their right to privacy and Pegasus snooping allegation is chilling in nature and court must find out the truth,” the top court said.

Former apex court judge, Justice RV Raveendran, will oversee the 3-member committee and submit the report expeditiously, the Bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said.

Alok Joshi, former IPS officer and Dr Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, Sub Committee in (International Organisation of Standardisation/ International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee) will assist Raveendran. The three members Technical Committee shall comprise Dr Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Dr Prabaharan P, Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala, and Dr Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra, LiveLaw reported.

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The Bench said it would not have been compelled to pass the order had the government taken a clear stand in court in the case. “The Union of India has not specifically denied the Pegasus allegations,” the Bench remarked and added, the Centre cannot get a free pass citing the bug bear of national security. “It cannot merely evoke national security to Stonewall judicial review.”

The SC further said the Right to Privacy violation needs to be examined. Indiscriminate violation of the right to privacy of citizens cannot be allowed, said SC. "There is serious concern of foreign agency involvement by surveilling Indians," the court said.

The top court further said that initially when petitions were filed court was not satisfied with the petitions filed based on newspaper reports, however, various other petitions were filed by the ones who were direct victims.

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