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Pegasus Snooping Row: SC To Set Up Probe Panel; Pronounce Order Next Week

A SC bench with CJI NV Ramana has previously reserved interim order in the Pegasus snooping case.

File photo of Supreme Court. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench on Thursday morning, said that it has plans to set up a technical committee to probe into Pegasus snooping row. SC bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, on Thursday added that it will pronounce order on the matter next week. The apex court was hearing the pleas seeking an independent probe into the snooping row.

“We will be able to finalise the members of the technical expert team by next week and then pronounce our orders,” said the bench.

On September 13, a bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli had reserved interim order in the Pegasus case. The central government had expressed unwillingness to file an affidavit stating whether it has used the Pegasus spyware or not.

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CJI Ramana on Thursday added that the court had intended to pass orders this week. However, due to personal difficulties expressed by some members of the technical committee, it had decided to defer the matter till next week.

The CJI also added that SC will finalize the members of the technical committee soon and will pass orders. The court will notify Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who is the lead counsel for the petitioners in the case.

The pleas seeking an independent probe are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

The Centre had maintained that what software was used for the interception in the interest of national security can’t be open for public debate.

The Centre had also contended that it is willing to place the details of surveillance before the expert committee proposed to be constituted by it to examine the issues and the committee can give a report to the Supreme Court.

Solicitor General Mehta had earlier during the hearing argued that several kinds of softwares are used by the government and military to check anti-national and terrorist activities.

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.