Today, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, reserved Supreme Court’s order on a batch of petitions calling for a court-monitored probe into the use of Pegasus spyware after an 80-minute hearing took place.
The bench mentioned that they do not want information concerning national security, and while referring to a statement issued by Ravi Shankar Prasad related to WhatsApp users being affected by the alleged use of Pegasus spyware, the bench added that the court wants to know about the allegations of interception of messages using methods other than those permitted by law.
Tushar Mehta, the solicitor general, stated that whether a particular software was used or not should become a part of an affidavit and should not be disclosed to the public to ensure that the target groups, and terror do not know which software is being used.
Mehta added that the centre will set up an expert committee, which will look into the charges by the petitioners claiming that their numbers were put under interception. Furthermore, Mehta said that the committee report will be presented in court.
Kapil Sibal, a senior advocate appearing for the petitioners, stated that it was the duty of the Centre to inform the court about all available facts and information and Sibal asked the court not to allow the government to set up the committee.
The court informed Mehta that the report provided by the expert committee can also come into the public domain. The solicitor general stated that they can take a call on that based on the court’s assessment of the contents of the report.
The bench headed by CJI N V Ramana after hearing the petitioners and the solicitor general stated that they are reserving the order, and will pass an interim order, but 2-3 days might be needed to pass the interim order.