While hearing a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the Pegasus Project revelations in India, Chief Justice NV Ramana asked why none of the petitioners filed a criminal complaint under the IT and the Telegraph Act on the illegal interception. ‘We don’t see that any of them have filed a complaint,’ the CJI taking note of the petitions said.
With reports coming into the light of the government’s alleged use of Israeli software Pegasus to spy on prominent personalities such as politicians, activists, and journalists, a row of petitions were filed at the apex Court.
The CJI asked why none of the petitions are backed by credible verifiable material mentioned that all petitions except that of the Editor’s guild are based on paper reports. Mr. Ramana criticized the ‘educated’ individuals who filed the petitions for not doing the hard work required to get legitimate material. The CJI also said ‘the allegations are serious if the reports in the papers are correct.’
The court also condemned ML Sharma for filing a petition against the Prime Minister and other ministers asking him to not take ‘advantage.’
Kapil Sibal, a senior lawyer who represented the petitioners in the Court requested it to see N Ram’s petition and stated that there have been 37 cases of interception. He also mentioned that Whatsapp technologies had filed a suit against NSO (an Israeli spyware company) in the California court.
The suit said ‘once activated the malicious code caused the targetted device to connect to the malware. The malware would then give access to the defendants to the device. The software can only be sold to governments. Not private companies.’
Terming Pegasus as a ‘rogue technology which infiltrates our lives without us knowing’ he clarified that the issue isn’t about whether the spyware can infiltrate phones but if it has done so in India. Sibal further questioned the inaction by the Indian Government against Israeli company NSO.
The petitioners have been asked to send a copy of the petitions to the government. No formal notice has been issued. The matter will be heard again by the court next week.