New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Centre on Sunday responded to the inquiries on the 'Pegasus Project' media report and said that India is a "robust democracy" that is committed to ensuring the right to privacy to all its citizens. Refuting the alleged claims of association between the Centre and Pegasus, it said that "no unauthorised interception" has taken place.

"In furtherance of this commitment, it has also introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, to protect the personal data of individuals and to empower users of social media platforms," the Centre said.

The Centre said that the allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people have no concrete basis, adding that similar claims were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp by the country. It said that the report "appears to be fishing expeditions, based on conjectures and exaggerations to malign the Indian democracy".

"In India, there is a well established procedure through which lawful interception of electronic communication is carried out in order for the purpose of national security, particularly on the occurrence of any public emergency or the interest of public safety, by agencies at the Centre and States. The requests for these lawful interception of electronic communication are made as per relevant rules under the provisions of section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1985 and section 69 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2000," it said.

"Each case of interception, monitoring and decryption is approved by the competent authority i.e. the Union Home Secretary. These powers are also available to the competent authority in the state governments as per IT (Procedure and Safeguards for interception, monitoring and decryption of information) Rules, 2009," it added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma