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Centre tells SC that it cannot disclose whether Pegasus was used for national security purposes

Legal Correspondent: Rima Mondal

August 17, 2021: The Central Government told the Supreme Court that it cannot reveal whether the Centre used Pegasus spyware for the purpose of national security. Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General of India, representing for the Centre said that every country purchases this surveillance software and it should not be a topic of public debate and also added that if they disclose the purpose of purchasing such software then the terrorists will take preventive measures to avoid such surveillance.

On the other hand, petitions sought by several Indian journalists, political leaders, human rights activists were being heard by a three-judges bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, to which Tushar Mehta said that government can submit an affidavit to the Court and disclose its purpose to a neutral committee of experts if the Court gives such notice. The committee will investigate on this matter and then the reports will be submitted to the Court. To this, Justice Surya Kant stated that the SC is not at all interested to reveal any report or issue which will compromise the national security of India. So, the Court issued a notice to the Central Government for its response on this matter.

Several political leaders including Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas, journalist N Ram, Asian College of Journalism Chairperson Sashi Kumar and many more have filed petitions to the Supreme Court seeking investigation of this spyware. The SC also observed during the hearings of these pleas and concluded that if the Centre had used such spyware for surveillance, then it would amount to a severe violation of human rights.


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