New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre on the batch of pleas seeking an independent probe in the Pegasus snooping matter and sought a reply within 10 days and said that after the Centre's response it will see 'what course should be adopted' in the matter. 

Issuing the notice, the Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, however, said that it doesn't want the Centre to disclose anything which compromises national security.

"For the defence of the nation, we're not going to disclose anything. Some persons of eminence are alleging snooping of phones, now this can also be done but only with permission of the competent authority. What's the problem if authority files an affidavit before us", the top court said. 

"We expected a comprehensive reply, but you filed a limited affidavit", noted the Chief Justice, listing the matter for further hearing after 10 days.

The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, said this after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that divulging the information on affidavit, as sought by the petitioners, would involve aspects of national security.  

The Centre refused to disclose whether it used Pegasus or not. Justice Bose queried Mehta, "Are you sure you don't want to say anything more?" Mehta replied that he cannot give information in the public domain, which software the government used or not, as later those who are being lawfully intercepted may use it to their advantage.

"We're all in our own right responsible citizens. Govt doesn't mind saying it before an expert group. Suppose a terror org uses technology to communicate with sleeper cells and we say we're not using Pegasus, they'll modulate apparatus in a way that it's not Pegasus compatible", Tushar Mehta said during the hearing. 

The court is hearing a batch of 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.

 

(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan