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"Seek Time Bound Answers From Govt. To Protect Citizens' Rights And Freedoms":Activists, Academicians Write To CJI In Pegasus Snooping Row

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 July 2021 9:15 AM GMT
Seek Time Bound Answers From Govt. To Protect Citizens Rights And Freedoms:Activists, Academicians Write To CJI In Pegasus Snooping Row
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Over five hundred individuals and groups have addressed a letter to CJI NV Ramana, seeking immediate intervention in the matter of alleged snooping on journalists, opposition leaders, etc. using the Pegasus spyware. The letter specifically raises the issue of alleged snooping on the Supreme Court staffer who had raised allegations of sexual harassment against then CJI Ranjan Gogoi...

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Over five hundred individuals and groups have addressed a letter to CJI NV Ramana, seeking immediate intervention in the matter of alleged snooping on journalists, opposition leaders, etc. using the Pegasus spyware.

The letter specifically raises the issue of alleged snooping on the Supreme Court staffer who had raised allegations of sexual harassment against then CJI Ranjan Gogoi in April 2019.

"For women, the Pegasus scandal is deeply concerning, for speaking out against the state and men in positions of state power has meant that their lives are wrecked by such surveillance permanently. Human rights defenders have been imprisoned, and victims of sexual harassment have also not been spared such shocking forms of state sponsored cyber-crimes, which are analogous to digital forms of state terror," the letter states in this regard.

It further questions the legality of the in-house investigation carried out by the Supreme Court into the allegations of sexual harassment when the victim was allegedly subjected to illegal hacking and spying

"If the complainant was under such criminal duress at the time, can the proceedings of the In-House Committee really have been free and fair?"

Pegasus Snooping & Gogoi Saga : Need For Supreme Court To Reopen Suo Motu Case

The letter reads,

"We seek your assurance that the institution of the Supreme Court of India is committed to upholding conditions free of intimidation as a prerequisite for fair inquiry in all matters, including inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace…The Supreme Court must fulfil its institutional obligations to provide women a safe workplace, and to that end, ensure full protection to complainants, their families and lawyers from cyber warfare."

Lastly, the signatories also raise the following questions to be investigated by the Top Court:

1. Whether any Indian entity purchased Pegasus? If yes, who is that entity and how it was paid?

2. If it was indeed purchased, how were the targets for hacking chosen and what use was made of the information so gained?

3. What were the admissible justifications for such targeting, and before which Constitutional authority were they presented?

4. Which Constitutional authority oversaw or reviewed the criminal violation of privacy of so many individuals, including journalists, politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, and academics (and the SC staffer and her family members) so that they came to be on the list of Pegasus targets?

"We believe that the Supreme Court can only instill confidence in people's, and particularly women's minds by transparently demanding and making public all answers relating to the use of Pegasus in India. Above all, we look to the Supreme Court to declare a moratorium on the export, sale, transfer and use of Pegasus in India.

"We hope that your office will lose no time in taking notice of this matter, and seeking time- bound answers to protect our rights and freedoms, its own credibility as an institution and in defence of our Constitution".the letter adds.

Signatories to this letter include activists like Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj, Harsh Mander; scholars and lawyers like Vrinda Grover, Jhuma Sen, Pratiksha Baxi; eminent academics and scientists such as Zoya Hasan, Romila Thapar; acclaimed writers like Arundhati Roy, V. Geetha, Githa Hariharan; politician Manoj Jha; journalists Anuradha Bhasin, Patricia Mukhim, John Dayal and other students, retired government officials, retired members of the armed forces, private entrepreneurs, health professionals and members of social organisations.

Meanwhile, several petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe in the matter. Read here:

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

PIL Filed In Supreme Court Seeking Court-Monitored SIT Probe Into Pegasus Snooping Allegations 

"Targeted Surveillance Using Military Grade Spyware": Journalists N Ram And Sashi kumar Move Supreme Court Seeking Probe In To Pegasus Snooping Row 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has constituted an Inquiry Commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya to investigate into the alleged scandal.

Click Here To Download Press Note

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