The Supreme Court said today that an affidavit filed by the Center on the alleged government snooping issue has failed to address allegations of whether or not Pegasus spyware has been used, and asked whether it will provide an additional affidavit. Submit.
A bank headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana is set to hear a series of pleas for a court-supervised investigation into government reports allegedly using Israeli spyware Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists, court officials and journalists for tomorrow. .
“We will continue tomorrow. If you change your mind, let us know tomorrow. If Tushar Mehta decides to file an affidavit, we have nothing to say, otherwise we will hear all of you,” Chief Justice Ramana said. while adding that it cannot force the center to file an affidavit if it is “reluctant”.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who appeared before the center, said the issue involved aspects of national security and was not simple enough to be resolved through affidavits.
Mr Mehta asked if the petitioners will withdraw petitions for an independent inquiry into the matter if the government files an affidavit denying the use of Pegasus.
“We are dealing with a sensitive issue, but an attempt is being made to make it sensational. This issue will have implications for national security. This issue cannot be treated as providing an affidavit etc. The Minister attached to this department involved has provided details of how the Pegasus issue has been raging in recent years. Posting the facts will relate to national security issues,” Mehta told the bank.
During the hearing, the petitioners’ lawyers repeatedly told the court that the central government evaded the answer to whether it or any of its agencies had ever used the spyware, and urged the court to urge the government to clean the case.
Earlier in the day, the central government issued an affidavit and informed the highest court that it has decided to set up an expert committee to investigate the matter.
The center also denied all allegations of snooping, claiming that the petitions are based on suspicion and that the allegations make no sense.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in its affidavit: “It is stated that the Union of India will form a committee of experts to dispel any misrepresentation spread by certain vested interests and to investigate the issues raised . in the field addressing all aspects of the problem.”
At the beginning of the hearing, Advocate General Mehta said the center denies all allegations and that there is nothing to hide or investigate. He said a neutral body of individuals and experts will be appointed to dispel any misrepresentation spread by certain vested interests and to investigate the issues raised, Mr Mehta added.
Mehta said if the court approves, the commission could be composed of independent, neutral experts and not government officials; he said a committee could be formed and the terms of reference could be set by the court.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who represents senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, objected to the “limited affidavit” filed by the center, saying the government must swear under oath that they have never used Pegasus spyware.
“The Government of India must certify under oath whether they or their agencies have ever used Pegasus. This fact must be denied or accepted. That is not stated in the affidavit submitted by the center. This affidavit does not answer the issues those by the petitioners,” said Mr Sibal, adding that the government has broadly denied the petitions broadly.
Mr Sibal said it is not about individuals but “institutions” and that it is the judiciary and the media that protect democracy and both have been attacked by Pegasus.
Sibal said: “France has launched a national investigation through legal proceedings, Israel is also conducting the investigation, but the Indian government says everything is in order. This is completely unacceptable.”