Pegasus Row: SC Agrees To Hear Plea by Veteran Journalists Next Week

Sibal said, “This is an urgent matter. Making waves not just in India but internationally.”

2 min read
Pegasus Row: SC Agrees To Hear Plea by Veteran Journalists Next Week

The Supreme Court on Friday, 30 July, agreed to hear next week, the plea of veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar seeking a probe by a retired or a sitting Supreme Court judge into the Pegasus snooping matter.

The PIL was mentioned by senior advocate Kapil Sibal before the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana.

Sibal asserted that the Pegasus issue has huge ramifications as reports indicate snooping on Opposition leaders, journalists, and judiciary.

Sibal added, “This is an urgent matter. Making waves not just in India but internationally,” LiveLaw reported.

The CJI agreed to hear the matter next week.

The petitioners also sought direction to Union of India to disclose if the Government of India or any of its agencies have obtained licence(s) for Pegasus spyware and/or used/employed it either directly or indirectly to conduct surveillance in any manner whatsoever.

The petitioners have pointed out that several of the phones belonging to the people whose names have appeared in the leaked database have been analysed and found to have been breached using Pegasus.

The petition also questioned whether such hacking represented an attempt by agencies and organisation 'to muzzle and chill the exercise of free speech and expression of dissent in India'.

"The Pegasus hack is a direct attack on communicational, intellectual and informational privacy, and critically endangers the meaningful exercise of privacy in these contexts. The right to privacy extends to use and control over one's mobile phone/electronic device and any interception by means of hacking/tapping is an infraction of Article 21. Further, the use of the Pegasus spyware to conduct surveillance represents a grossly disproportionate invasion of the right to privacy," the petition stated, according to LiveLaw.


A report published by an Indian online news portal 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 over 40 senior journalists, Opposition leaders, government officials, and rights activists.

The leaked list of names was provided to The Wire and 15 other international news organisations by France-based media non-profit, Forbidden Stories, and Amnesty International, as part of a collaborative investigation called the 'Pegasus Project'.

Multiple reports, published since 18 July, have revealed the names of Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor, Ashok Lavasa, and Union ministers Prahlad Patel and Ashwini Vaishnaw, among those on the leaked list.

The Indian government, on its part, has denied any role in the snooping operations, slamming the reports.

Meanwhile, the Israel-made spyware has stirred up a political storm, with several Opposition leaders protesting during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on 23 July had said that the prime minister and the home minister had used the Israeli weapon against the Indian state and its institutions.

"They used it (Pegasus) politically; they used it in Karnataka; they used it to scuttle probes; they used it against the Supreme Court and all institutions of this country. The only word for this is treason. There is no other word for this."
Rahul Gandhi

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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