Maintain restraint as we are hearing Pegasus matter: Supreme Court to West Bengal govt

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August 26, 2021 1:15 AM

The Bench further said, “Next week we will pass a comprehensive order. In the meantime, if you start an enquiry, we will have to pass an order.”

However, Singhvi assured the Bench that “nothing will happen in the meantime. Please don't make any observation.”However, Singhvi assured the Bench that “nothing will happen in the meantime. Please don't make any observation.”

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the West Bengal government to observe some restraint in investigating the Pegasus spyware snooping case as the matter was being examined by the former.

The state government, which had set up a two-member Commission of Inquiry headed by former SC judge M B Lokur to probe the allegations of snooping, assured a Bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana that the panel would not go ahead with the probe till the SC decided the issue.

“Please maintain restraint as we are already hearing the Pegasus matter… At present, this issue is connected to other issues, in all fairness we expect you can wait. We will hear it with the matter some time next week. Those matters (pleas seeking inquiry on alleged use of Pegasus spyware by the government) are likely to have pan India impact,” the Bench told senior counsel A M Singhvi, who appeared on behalf of the Mamata Banerjee government.

The Bench further said, “Next week we will pass a comprehensive order. In the meantime, if you start an enquiry, we will have to pass an order.”
However, Singhvi assured the Bench that “nothing will happen in the meantime. Please don’t make any observation.”

The apex court also tagged the Global Village Foundation Public Charitable Trust’s PIL seeking dismantling of the West Bengal’s Commission of Inquiry with other related petitions pending before the top court.

Justifying the setting up of the two-member Commission of Inquiry, the Mamata Banerjee government told the SC that since the Union government was “non-committal and evasive,” its commission would “put into place effective countermeasures against any rogue foreign spyware”.

“The Pegasus controversy is indeed a matter of public importance affecting public order and therefore, the state government had the jurisdiction to constitute the Commission to restore public confidence in the people of West Bengal and to ensure that no unauthorised interception through a rogue foreign spyware can occur in the state,” the state government stated in its reply.

The top court while hearing a separate batch of pleas seeking court-monitored probe into the reports of government allegedly using Israeli software Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists, court staffs, and journalists had last week told the Centre that it would not like to compromise with the security of the nation but wanted the competent authorities to apprise it on charges related to illegal hacking of phones through this spyware.

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