New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted more time to the Centre to file its response to a batch of pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter and adjourned the hearing till September 13.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had issued a notice to the Centre on the pleas on August 17, while making it clear that it did not want the government to disclose anything which compromises national security.

As soon as the matter came up for hearing before the bench, which also comprised justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that due to some difficulties, the affidavit, sought by the bench, could not be filed and sought listing of the case either on Thursday or Monday.

“There is some difficulty with the affidavit. We had filed one and you had enquired if we want to file another one, some officers were not there...if this matter can be kept on Thursday or Monday,” the law officer said. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for senior journalist N Ram, said that he does not have any objection to the request.

“List it on Monday,” the bench said. The court is hearing as many as 12 pleas, including the one filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking an independent probe into the matter. They are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus.

An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware. The matter also led to an uproar in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament with opposition leaders demanding a probe into the matter. The opposition continuously created ruckus over the matter in both the houses leading to repeated adjournments.

Earlier, during the hearing of the matter in August, the Centre told the Supreme Court there was "nothing to hide" in the alleged Pegasus snooping matter and it will constitute a committee of eminent experts to examine all the aspects related to the issue

The top court had said that allegations of Pegasus related snooping are "serious in nature" if reports on them are correct. It had also asked the petitioners whether they had made any efforts to file a criminal complaint on this.

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan