New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Wednesday formed a three-member committee to probe the 'falsity and discover the truth' in the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of Indian citizens. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli passed the order on a batch of pleas seeking an independent court-monitored probe into the alleged Pegasus spyware case. 

Supreme Court said it has chosen renowned experts to be a part of the three-member Committee. The top court further said that it will oversee the functioning of the committee in the matter. 

The three-member committee will be headed by RV Raveendran, former Supreme Court Judge, while other members will be Alok Joshi and Sandeep Oberoi. The Supreme Court further asked the Committee to examine the allegations thoroughly and place the report before it after 8 weeks.  

Court noted that there is a serious concern of foreign agency involvement by surveilling Indians, and said, "Right to Privacy violation needs to be examined." Quoting George Orwell, CJI NV Ramana said, "If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."

The court noted that some of the petitioners are direct victims of pegasus. "It is incumbent upon the Centre to seriously consider the use of such a technology," it said, adding that it has discussed the need for protecting the right to privacy in India.

"We live in the era of information and we must recognise while technology is important it is important to safeguard the right to privacy, not only to journalists but privacy is important for all citizens. Initially when petitions were filed, the court was not satisfied with petitions filed based on newspaper reports, however, various other petitions were filed by the ones who were direct victims," it said.

Earlier, the Bench had said that it intends to set up an expert committee to probe into the reports alleging the government of using Israeli software Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists, and journalists.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that it was willing to set up a committee of independent experts to examine all aspects of the alleged Pegasus snooping row. It had maintained that what software was used for an interception in the interest of national security can't be open for public debate.

The petitioners' lawyers had repeatedly told the Bench that the Central government has evaded answering the question if it or any of its agencies have ever used the Pegasus spyware and urged the court to direct the government to come clean on this issue.

In July, names of over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire.

(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan