Before SC, centre refuses to disclose more on Pegasus snooping scam

Before SC, centre refuses to disclose more on Pegasus snooping scam

New Delhi: Centre has told Supreme Court that it cannot disclose details on whether Pegasus software is used for surveillance or not, citing the national security issue. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted before the Chief Justice bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana, stating that it would not be appropriate to disclose the details of the case considering the National Security matter. 

The Centre has also said that it has no information about Pegasus software been used against civilians, judges, and journalists. 

However, the Centre has agreed to set up an expert committee consisting of technical experts in this regard. 

Supreme Court had issued the notice to the Centre last week and adjourned the matter for ten days. The Centre has also said that it will not fix any time limit regarding the setting up of the expert committee. Supreme Court has observed that it will take a call once an expert committee is constituted. 

Petitioner’s counsels argued that Pegasus snooping issue does not come under national security matters; they submitted that Pegasus snooping scam is a complete violation of the privacy of the citizens. 

On Monday, Supreme Court has said that it cannot compel the Centre to file a detailed affidavit on petitions seeking to know if Pegasus spyware was used to snoop citizens, journalists and judges. 

In a two-page affidavit filed by the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Centre stated: “A bare perusal of the captioned petition and other connected petitions makes it clear that the same are based on conjectures and surmises or on other unsubstantiated media reports or incomplete or uncorroborated material.”

“To dispel any wrong narrative spread by vested interests and with an object of examining the issues raised, we will constitute a committee of experts in the field which will go into all aspects of the issue,” stated in the affidavit. 

The further affidavit has stated that due to the limited time, it was not possible to deal with all the facts stated and the questions raised in the batch of petitions before the apex Court and hence, filed a limited affidavit at this stage while reserving liberty to file a further affidavit in detail hereafter.

Read: SC adjourns Pegasus hearing to August 16

Centre has denied the allegations made by the petitioner, in the affidavit, it stated that “at the outset, it is submitted that I hereby unequivocally deny any and all of the allegations made against the Respondents in the captioned petition and other connected petitions.”