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Pegasus case: Panel submits interim report ahead of hearing


The Supreme Court-appointed technical committee investigating the alleged abuse of Israeli spyware Pegasus for eavesdropping on Indian individuals, has submitted an interim report and requested extra time to present its final report on the findings.

The news: The panel, led by retired Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran, updated the highest court on the status of the investigation into the alleged snooping of politicians, activists, journalists, and lawyers in an interim report. 

What’s going on: Last October, the Supreme Court constituted the Justice Raveendran Committee to investigate a slew of petitions submitted by activists and people whose phones had been infected by spyware, and gave them eight weeks to file a report. The matter will be heard on Wednesday by a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, who will review the committee’s report.

  • Petitions filed with the court alleged that the extremely advanced Pegasus malware was military software sold solely to governments and government agencies, resulting in a violation of the right to privacy. 

What it stated: “Journalists and social activists aren’t the only ones concerned about privacy. Every Indian person should be safeguarded from invasions of privacy. The court order stated, “It is this expectation that allows us to exercise our choices, rights, and independence.”

  • Stating that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards, by following the procedure established by law, the CJI-led bench observed, adding that by constituting the panel, it does not wish to enter the political thicket but safeguard citizen’s rights.
  • “We make it clear that our effort is to uphold the constitutional aspirations and rule of law, without allowing ourselves to be consumed in the political rhetoric. This court has always been conscious of not entering the political thicket. However, at the same time, it has never cowered from protecting all from the abuses of fundamental rights,” the Supreme Court said in its October 27, 2021 order.
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