disrupts continues, whereas, MoD clears in parliament we did not have any transaction with NSO Group Technologies
By Kunwar Ashok S Rajput
August-10 : The top court has adjourned the hearing in the Pegasus issue till Monday, in hearing petition Supreme Court on Tuesday said there must be some discipline and proper debate during the proceedings in connection with petitions on the Pegasus snooping scandal. The top court emphasised those who filed PILs on the issue, are not expected to run a parallel debate on social media platforms or Twitter. A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Vineet Sarana and Surya Kant told the senior advocates representing various petitioners, have some faith in the system and process of adjudication by the court, parallel proceedings or parallel debate should not be there on Twitter or social media.
The bench said: there must be some discipline, we asked some questions. There is an adjudication process it may be inconvenient to you and that’s how this process is, meanwhile, bench added if petitioners want to bring something to our notice, they should file that here. The top court stressed that the debate has to be within the courtroom and not outside and the debate should not cross the limits. Several petitions have been filed in the top court seeking court-monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations. Solicitor Mehta Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, sought time till Friday to seek instructions in the matter and senior advocate Kapil Sibal is representing journalist N. Ram. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in past days said: Pegasus is a way to silence the voice of people. Targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the snooping row, Rahul said the Israeli spyware is a tool to silence people. Narendra Modi has put the idea of Pegasus in the mobile phone of every youth, not just mine. This idea is that if you speak the truth, Narendra Modi and Pegasus are there in your phones.
However, the Ministry of Defence informed Parliament on Monday that it did not have any transaction with NSO Group Technologies, the Israeli company that developed the Pegasus spyware, in the first pointed reference to the company from the government since the controversy broke. The government response so far has shied away from mentioning the company. Ministry of Defence has not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha to a question from CPI(M)’s V. Sivadasan.
Similarly, Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw had rejected allegations of snooping on Indians by the government. He had said they were at attempt to “malign” the Indian democracy. In a suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha, he had stated that with several checks and balances being in place, any sort of illegal surveillance by unauthorised persons is not possible in the country.
Opposition parties have been demanding a discussion in Parliament on the issue leading to the stalling of the ongoing monsoon session and they are stating that the Pegasus issue has “national security dimensions. The Supreme Court is currently hearing petition on the matter filed by senior journalists and the Editors Guild of India among others. In fresh, the NCP said it was imperative for the Centre to immediately order a probe into the matter to reveal the truth, as the Congress demanded a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
In attempt to create new dimension to the ongoing Pegasus spyware phone-tapping controversy, Sharad Pawar led NCP expressed deep apprehensions that some ‘foreign powers’ may be snooping on the country, here on Tuesday. Terming it an very serious matter, NCP Spokesperson Nawab Malik in Maharashtra said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Centre must issue a proper clarifications in Parliament.”MoD has said that it has nothing to do with the Pegasus matter” , the Centre must make a proper statement in Parliament through some senior minister to the effect that the government has no links with the NSO Group Technologies, Malik urged. The Centre’s claim was indeed true, then it becomes even more serious as it could point to some foreign powers snooping on the country and its top institutions and individuals. The phones of several opposition leaders, Supreme Court judges, Election Commission of India, lawyers, journalists, industrialists have been tapped, but the MoD claims it has no links with Pegasus. Then who is responsible for this, Malik asked.
As per media reports,Pegasus was used to snoop on civilians, journalists, Ministers, parliamentarians and activists across the world, including India, according to the reports by a consortium of 17 international media organisations based on an investigation conducted by Paris-based media non-profit organisation Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International into a leaked list of over 50,000 phone numbers that are believed to be been targeted through Pegasus or of interest for potential snooping. In India, more than 300 mobile numbers, including that of two serving Ministers, three Opposition leaders, one sitting judge, journalists and activists among others were targeted by Pegasus, reports stated.