Want Pegasus Report By June 20, Panel Examined 29 Mobiles: Supreme Court

Pegasus Case: A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said the committee would complete its inquiry by May end. The report will be handed over to the Supreme Court by June 20, after it is examined by a supervising judge.

Pegasus Row: The top court will next hear the matter in July, 2022. (File)

New Delhi:

In the case involving allegations that Israeli-made Pegasus software was used to snoop on journalists, activists and politicians in India, a Supreme Court-appointed committee was today granted four more weeks to submit a report on its investigations.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said the committee would complete its inquiry by May end. The report will be handed over to the Supreme Court by June 20, after it is examined by a supervising judge.

The Supreme Court will take up the case in July.

"A standard operating procedure for testing the 'infected devices' will be finalised too," the Supreme Court said.

The committee told the Supreme Court it has examined 29 mobile phones for the spyware, and also has recorded the statements of some petitioners, activists and journalists.

Multiple petitions before the Supreme Court have called for an investigation into allegations that the Pegasus spyware - sold only to governments - was used to target opposition leaders, journalists and others in India.

An international media consortium reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using the Pegasus spyware.

Petitioners, including former union minister Yashwant Sinha, CPM MP John Brittas, Supreme Court advocate ML Sharma, the Editors' Guild of India and individual journalists, had asked the court to order the government to produce details of the alleged unauthorised surveillance using Pegasus.

The Supreme court, in October 2021, ordered an investigation headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran.

The Supreme court had said that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law, "indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed".

"We live in the era of the information revolution, where the entire lives of individuals are stored in the cloud or in a digital dossier. We must recognise that while technology is a useful tool for improving the lives of the people, at the same time, it can also be used to breach that sacred private space of an individual," the court had said in its order.

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