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‘Attempt to Malign Indian Democracy’: IT Minister in Parliament on Pegasus Row

Catch all the live updates on the Monsoon Session of Parliament here.

Updated
Politics
7 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Parliament Monsoon Session 2021 LIVE</p></div>
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Newly-appointed IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw brought up the Pegasus spyware controversy in the Lok Sabha on Monday, 19 July, calling it a “highly sensational story” around which “many over-the-top allegations” were made.

“Press reports of 18 July 2021… appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions,” he was quoted as saying on the first day of the Monsoon Session.

Meanwhile, both Houses of the Parliament – the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha – have been adjourned till 11 am on Tuesday, 20 July.

Earlier on Monday, PM Narendra Modi introduced his new Council of Ministers in both Houses, even as the Opposition raised loud slogans, disrupting his speech.

Snapshot
  • PM Narendra Modi chaired an all-party meeting on Sunday, 18 July, ahead of the commencement of the session

  • Ahead of the session, PM Modi said there should be meaningful discussions about the pandemic "that has gripped the entire world"

  • The Monsoon Session comes amid reports that Israel-made spyware Pegasus is believed to have been used to snoop on at least 300 Indian phone numbers

  • Both the Houses – the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – will meet daily from 11 am to 6 pm on all days

  • The session is likely to conclude on 13 August, with around 19 sittings scheduled during this time

  • At least 23 bills have been listed by the Centre to be tabled in the Lok Sabha during the upcoming session

  • SKM has planned daily protests with around 200 farmers to be held outside the Parliament during the Monsoon Session

10:11 PM , 19 Jul

Home Minister Amit Shah Alleges 'Pegasus' Reports Seek to Disrupt Monsoon Session

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, 19 June, slammed the publication of reports on the Pegasus spyware controversy as well as the Opposition’s disruption in Parliament on the first day of the Monsoon Session, saying, “This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers."

“People have often associated this phrase with me in lighter vein but today I want to seriously say – the timing of the selective leaks, the disruptions… aap chronology samajhiye (understand the chronology)!"
Home Minister Amit Shah
10:11 PM , 19 Jul

Opposition to Meet and Discuss Floor Strategy Tomorrow

Opposition is slated to meet on Tuesday, 20 July, to discuss floor strategy, reported TOI.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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4:34 PM , 19 Jul

PM Modi to Hold Meeting With Floor Leaders of All Parties Tomorrow: Report

PM Modi is likely to hold a meeting with the floor leaders of all parties in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, in which the COVID-19 vaccination policy is expected to be discussed and a presentation on the handling of the pandemic is to be given, sources cited by ANI said.

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4:28 PM , 19 Jul
KEY EVENT

‘Attempt to Malign Indian Democracy’: IT Minister in Parliament on Pegasus Row

Newly-appointed IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw brought up the Pegasus spyware controversy in the Lok Sabha on Monday, calling it a “highly sensational story” around which “many over-the-top allegations” were made.

“The press reports appeared a day before the Monsoon Session of Parliament. This can't be a coincidence… In the past, similar claims were made regarding use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports had no factual basis and were denied by all parties. Press reports of 18 July 2021 also appear to be an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.”
IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Lok Sabha, as quoted by ANI

Pointing out to the contents of the report, Vaishnaw said the report itself clarifies that presence of a number in the list doesn’t amount to snooping.

“Any form of illegal surveillance isn't possible with checks and balances in our laws, and robust institutions. In India, there's a well-established procedure through which lawful interception of electronic communication is carried out for the purpose of national security… Requests for lawful interceptions of electronic communication are made as per relevant rules, under provisions of Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Section 69 of Information Technology Act, 2000. Each case of interception is approved by the competent authority,” he was further quoted as saying by ANI in the Lower House on Monday.

“When we look at this issue through the prism of logic, it clearly emerges that there is no substance, whatsoever, behind this sensationalism,” Vaishnaw added.

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Published: 19 Jul 2021, 8:12 AM IST
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