“Citizens need to be protected from violation of privacy”: Supreme Court rejects Modi government’s request on Pegasus snooping scandal; here are top quotes from top court

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday surprised everyone by rejecting the Narendra Modi government’s request to set up an expert panel to probe the allegations of snooping using the Israeli software Pegasus. The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli ordered a probe into allegations of snooping by the Modi government by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice RV Raveendran.

सुप्रीम कोर्ट

Justice Raveendran would be assisted by an ex-IPS officer, Alok Joshi. Also assiting Justice Raveendran will be Dr. Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Dr. Prabaharan P., Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala and Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.

While rejecting the government’s request to set up a committee of experts, NDTV reported, the Supreme Court said that it would ‘violate the settled judicial principle against bias.’

Here are top quotes, as reported by Livelaw, from the top court on the Pegasus snooping order:

“There has been no specific denial of any of the facts averred by Petitioners by Union of India. There has only been an omnibus & vague denial in the “limited affidavit” filed by the Union of India, which cannot be sufficient”

 

“Members of democratic society have reasonable concern of privacy. Citizens need to be protected from violation of privacy.”

 

“It needs to be realised like other fundamental rights some restrictions need to be there. But these restrictions need to stand constitutional scrutiny.”

 

“Ample time was given to Centre to disclose all information regarding the pegasus. However onlylimited affidavit was filed. If Centre had made a clear stand burden on us would have been less. Centre should justify its stand here and not render court a mute spectator”

“There has been no specific denial of any of the facts averred by the Petitioners by the Respondent-Union of India. There has only been an omnibus & vague denial in the “limited affidavit”filed by the Respondent-Union of India, which cannot be sufficient”

National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from, by virtue of its mere mentioning. Although this Court should be circumspect in encroaching the domain of national security, no omnibus prohibition can be called for against judicial review.

“There has been no specific denial of any of the facts averred by Petitioners by Union of India. There has only been an omnibus & vague denial in the “limited affidavit” filed by the Union of India, which cannot be sufficient”

 

The Pegasus snooping scandal has rocked Indian politics after it emerged that phones of several journalists, opposition politicians, certain ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa and other key individuals may have been compromised by using the Israeli spyware Pegasus.