New Delhi Aug 10(ILNS): The Supreme Court today granted time to the Central Government to file its reply till August 16 on the snooping of mobile phones of journalists, political figures, and constitutional authorities through Israeli spyware Pegasus.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice N.V Ramana and Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Surya Kant took up the matter pertaining to the snooping on the mobile phones and asked the petitioners not to give any misleading statement regarding the matter in the Media and we disapprove ‘Parallel Debates’ By Petitioners On Pegasus Issue.
The Court said, “We feel that any of the people who are interested in matters and are saying things in the media we hope you will answer within Court. You must have faith in the system,”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared on behalf of the Government of India informed the court that he has just received the Petitions and requested the bench to grant him some time to file a reply.
Senior Advocate Chander Uday Singh who is representing Journalist N. Ram requested the bench to issue a notice in this case but the bench was not inclined to issue notice without hearing the central Government.
The plea is related to reports of alleged snooping by the government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians, and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.
An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus Spyware.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two union ministers – Prahalad Singh Patel and Railways and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw – businessman Anil Ambani, a former CBI chief, and at least 40 journalists are on the list on the leaked database of NSO. It is, however, not established that all the phones were hacked.
The Government has denied all the allegations in the matter./ILNS/AV/SNG