Supreme Court Reserves Interim Order on Pegasus Cases After Centre Expressed Unwillingness to File Affidavit on Spyware Use

By – Rhytham Jain

The honorable supreme court of India reserved an interim order on a batch of petitions seeking to investigate the alleged illegal use of phone tapping Pegasus software to snoop politicians, journalists, civilians, etc.  This development came into the limelight when the central government has shown its unwillingness to file an affidavit in this matter, citing its concern over the security of India.

The court said that it will pass the order within the upcoming 2-3 days and further added that if the Solicitor general of India wants to mention the matter before the court if there is any rethinking on its part, he can mention it. The supreme court bench comprising of CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli repeatedly said that the court does not want any information regarding the national security but they are only concerned with the allegations of Rights violations raised by the ordinary citizen through Pegasus software which interrupts their privacy and interferes into it.  

The petitioners have sought an interim prayer to direct the filling of a disclosing affidavit by the central government. They also seek the formation of an interim committee led by a retired judge to investigate this matter. The honorable court adjourned the matter today in order to know if the Government will file an affidavit stating whether they used Pegasus or not.

Having examined this issue Govt. said that such issues are not debatable on affidavit and even not in the honorable court. The court said that we don’t want information regarding the national security concerned but we are concerned to know whether Govt has used any method other than admissible under law. Justice Surya Kant said we are only expecting you to file the affidavit before us alleging infringement of rights of civilians. This snooping rises a conflict over the infringement of the right to privacy under article 21. Regarding this, Tushar Mehta informed the honorable supreme court that the center has formed a committee that will place its report before the court very soon.  But at the end of all conversation, the three-judge bench of the supreme court led by CJI said that only appointing a committee is not a question here. If you file an affidavit then we know where you stand, there is an established procedure for interception.