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Pegasus Row: SC Refuses Stay on WB Govt Notification on Inquiry Commission

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Government of India and the West Bengal government.

Published
India
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Supreme Court to hear Pegasus matters. Image used for representational purposes.</p></div>
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 18 August, refused a stay on the West Bengal government notification regarding the constitution of an inquiry commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur, to probe the Pegasus reports.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant And Justice Aniruddha Bose were hearing a petition against the composition of the two-member committee and issued a notice to Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology we well as the State of West Bengal in the matter, LiveLaw reported.

Representing the petitioner, Advocate Saurabh Mishra contended that the commission was challenged on the grounds of a lack of jurisdiction.

Solicitor Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, contended that the commission was 'unconstitutional.'

However, the court listed the matter to be heard on 25 August, saying that the plea can be heard along with other pleas on the Pegasus scandal.

The advocate then sought an interim stay on the proceedings of the commission, to which the court responded, "That is only a preliminary exercise," LiveLaw reported.

Background

The West Bengal government had announced a two-member inquiry commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur, and comprising of former acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya on 26 July.

"Through Pegasus, everyone including judiciary and civic society has been under surveillance. We expected that during Parliament, Centre will investigate under SC supervision, but they didn't," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said in the matter.

Reports published by news organisations across the world on 18 July revealed that Israel-made spyware Pegasus was believed to have been used to snoop on at least 300 Indian phone numbers, including those of several journalists, politicians, government officials, and rights activists.

The apex Court on Tuesday had already issued notice to the Centre on the pleas filed before it regarding the use of the spyware against Indian citizens.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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