Pegasus row: Supreme Court pulls up Centre
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Centre for ‘avoiding’ to file an affidavit to the court regarding the Pegasus spyware scandal.
While hearing the batch of petitions seeking an independent probe on the Pegasus spyware scandal, the court has expressed its displeasure on Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and said that it will pass interim order on Thursday in the matter.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana observed that “beating about the bush will not solve the issue, let us see what order we have to pass in the matter,” the bench observed.
“Centre has informed the court that it cannot file affidavits on Pegasus; it will affect the national security. We cannot let terrorists know what software is being used”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court.
Expressed dissatisfaction for submission of the Solicitor General, the Chief Justice observed that “ last time we told you (Mehta) to file an affidavit, thus we have given time to file an affidavit, but now you are saying this,” CJI said.
Further, CJI remarked that “we are going back again and again as if we want to know everything the government is doing. We reiterate we don’t want to know anything about national security. The issue is we have citizens saying their phones were tapped”, Chief Justice observed.
Further court observed that “we have to something, will pass an interim order in 2-3 days, the bench said and advised the Centre that it can approach the Court before then if it changed its mind on filing an affidavit”.
"Last time too, we clarified nobody is going to intervene in a way that affects national security. We asked you there are claims of individual phones being hacked, so file your affidavit on whether it was authorised," Justice Surya Kant said.
"Which agency has powers and whether it authorised or not. Individuals are saying their right to privacy has been violated," Court said.
"If individuals are saying their privacy was violated, it is serious, and we are ready to go into it. We will form a committee of experts," Solicitor General replied.
While hearing, the Centre has submitted to the court that it had nothing to hide but cited national security reasons; thus, it would not file a detailed affidavit to the court.