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BREAKING- Pegasus Snooping : Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas Moves Supreme Court For SIT Probe; Says Centre Evasive

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
24 July 2021 4:04 PM GMT
BREAKING- Pegasus Snooping : Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas Moves Supreme Court For SIT Probe; Says Centre Evasive
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Seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team into the reports of snooping of activists, journalists and politicians using the Israeli spyware Pegaus, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas of Communist Marxist Party of India (Marxist) has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court.The petition highlights the statements given by the Union Minister for Electronics and Information...

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Seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team into the reports of snooping of activists, journalists and politicians using the Israeli spyware Pegaus, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas of Communist Marxist Party of India (Marxist) has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court.

The petition highlights the statements given by the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnav in the Parliament to state that the Government of India has neither denied nor admitted the snooping by spyware. It is pointed out that the Minister has said that "no unauthorized interception" has taken place, giving rise to an inferential question if the interception was authorized. However, the Government is not forthcoming with a statement on how such interception has been authorized.

"It is only an evasive statement from the Government. The Government has unequivocally accepted the statement of the company, NSO, which owns the alleged spyware technology and blindly accepted their version without any investigation", the plea says.

Despite the very serious nature of allegations, the petitioner says that the Government has not cared to investigate into the allegations involved.

In such circumstances, the petitioner says that he is constrained to approach the Supreme Court as the issue involves citizens' fundamental right to privacy and gross abuse of the state's surveillance powers.

"If the Pegasus Spyware was used in an unauthorized manner that is in violation of fundamental rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 and also as a slap on the face of the right to privacy upheld by this Hon'ble Court in Puttaswamy case. There is also violation of the provisions of IT Act& Indian Telegraph Act for which strict penal action needs to be done after an immediate, independent and transparent", the plea reads.

The petition also mentions reports published by The Wire regarding the inclusion of the mobile numbers of the Supreme Court staff who had raised the sexual harassment allegations against the former CJI Ranjan Gogoi as a potential target of Pegasus snooping. Reference is also made to reports indicating the possibility of a Supreme Court judge also being a potential snoop target.


"As the interceptions are said to be done in the gadgets of judges and supreme court staffer there is a strong interference with the administration of justice. This is unprecedented and shocking the conscience of the judicial system", the petition filed through Advocate Resmita R Chandran says.

Further, the petition refers to the reports about the inclusion of a member of the Election Commission of India as a target to argue that the fundamental aspects of Indian democracy are at stake.

"The Pegasus Spyware allegations gives two inferences- it was done by the Indian Government or by a foreign agency. If it is done by the Indian Government it is done in an unauthorized manner. The spending of sovereign amount for personal and political interests of the ruling party cannot be permitted. If it is done by some foreign agency, it is an act of external aggression which also needs to be dealt in a serious manner".

40 Indian journalists, political leaders like Rahul Gandhi, election strategist Prashant Kishore, businessman Anil Ambani, former CBI director Alok Verma, former Election Commission member Ashok Lavassa etc are reported to be in the list of targets, as per The Wire.










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