Pegasus row: Centre need not disclose anything that compromises national security, says SC


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a batch of pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping incident and sought a reply from the Centre within 10 days.

The top court also made it clear that it did not want the government to disclose anything which might compromise national security.

The notice to the Centre was issued by a top court bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, which said it will take up the matter after 10 days and see what course should be adopted.

 

 

The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the apex court does not want the government to disclose anything which may compromise national security.

The top court said this after Mehta argued that divulging the information on the affidavit, as sought by the petitioners in Pegasus snooping case, would involve aspects of national security.

The court is hearing a batch of pleas, including the one filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking an independent probe into the matter. They are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

During a previous hearing in the case, the top court took strong exception to ongoing parallel debates on social media and websites by some petitioners, who have filed pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter, and said that they should observe discipline.

A three-bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said the apex court is not against debates but when the matter is pending in court, it should be deliberated upon here.

An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware. 

The Centre has categorically denied the snooping allegations in SC, saying those petitions are based on ‘conjectures and surmises’

The Centre has alleged that the batch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations is based on “conjectures, surmises” and unsubstantiated media reports and a group of experts will examine all issues raised.

(With PTI Inputs)

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