The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into allegations of government using Israeli software Pegasus to spy on politicians, activists and journalists to 13 September. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana adjourned the matter after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre asked for an adjournment. Mehta sought a few more days to get instructions on whether the government wanted to file any further affidavit. At the outset, Solicitor General Mehta told the Bench, “On the last occasion Court had inquired if we would like to file a further affidavit. For some reason, some officers were not there, I could not meet, etc. It could not be found out.”
The Centre had on last hearing said that it did not want to file an additional affidavit in the Pegasus issue, as national security aspects were involved. Earlier, the Bench had issued notice to the Centre and asked it to respond on a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the issue.
The apex court had said that it will decide what to do in future including whether the government request for permission to set up a committee of independent experts to examine all aspects should be allowed.
The Centre had maintained that what software was used for the interception in the interest of national security can’t be open for public debate. The Centre had also contended that it is willing to place the details of surveillance before the expert committee proposed to be constituted by it to examine the issues and the committee can give a report to the Supreme Court. Mehta had earlier during the hearing argued that several kinds of softwares are used by the government and military to check anti-national and terrorist activities. “No government will make public what software it is using to allow terror networks to modulate its systems and escape tracking,” he had added.