PIL in SC seeks SIT probe into ‘snooping through Pegasus’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: The snowballing controversy over alleged snooping of telephones of politicians, activists and journalists through spyware Pegasus reached the doors of the Supreme Court on Thursday with serial PIL litigant and advocate M L Sharma being the first to file a petition seeking SC-appointed SIT probe into the politically hot scandal.
Often being the first to reach the court ahead of advocate Prashant Bhushan’s clients in filing PILs in SC on important public controversies, including the coal scam and alleged irregularities in Rafale deal, Sharma requested the apex court to inquire why and under what procedure the Union government purchased the spyware for snooping purposes.
He also demanded to know the expenses incurred for the purchase of the Israeli spyware, which is sold by its owner NSO only to governments. Making the PM a respondent by name along with all members of the Union council of ministers, Sharma requested the SC to constitute an SIT and monitor its investigations into “Pegasus scandal and prosecute all accused persons/ ministers for buying of Pegasus and for snooping on citizens of India including judges, opposition leaders and political persons, activists, advocates and others for their vested political interest since 2017 till date”.
Seeking a declaration that use of Pegasus by the government or any of its agencies was illegal, the petitioner said those responsible for the alleged purchase of the spyware without prior authorisation from Parliament must be asked to reimburse the treasury of an equal amount with interest. The petitioner said at a time when the government rides roughshod over opposition and refuses to answer anything relating to purchase and use of Pegasus, it is only the SC which could fix accountability by going to the root of the issue — who entered into an agreement with Israeli NSO for purchase of the spyware. Sharma said the BJP government could not take shelter behind the run-of-the-mill excuse that snooping took place during the Congress-led UPA government on a much larger scale and must be made answerable to the breach of privacy, which a 9-judge bench of the SC has ruled to be part and parcel of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.



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