New Delhi: The Supreme Court will set up a committee to inquire into the Pegasus snooping row, Chief Justice NV Ramana said today, adding that interim orders would likely be issued next week.
The Chief Justice was hearing another matter when he told one of the lawyers – who also represents one of the petitioners in the Pegasus case – of this development.
“We wanted to pass an order on the matter before this week… but some members we thought of considering for the (expert) committee… for personal reasons they declined to be part of this committee. Hence the delay,” the Chief Justice said.
“We will try to pass an order on Pegasus next week,” he added.
The top court has been hearing a clutch of petitions demanding an inquiry into allegations an Indian client of the Israeli spyware used it to conduct illegal surveillance on opposition leaders, businessmen journalists and others, including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.
On September 13 a bench led by the Chief Justice reserved its orders after the government said “it had nothing to hide” but cited “national security” to declare that it would not file a detailed affidavit in response to the petitions.
“Filing (an affidavit) and making it public discourse is not possible (as it) will affect national security… We cannot let terrorists know what software is used…” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court.
An unimpressed and irked Chief Justice reminded Mr Mehta “… we don’t want to know about national security. The issue is… we have citizens saying their phones were tapped.”
“We have to do something. You have something else to say…” he asked Mr Mehta, to which the Solicitor General said: “No”. “Mr Mehta… beating about the bush will not solve the issue. Let us see what order we have to pass,” the Chief Justice replied.
With inputs from NDTV