Big Supreme Court Hearing Today Of Pleas For Pegasus Probe: 10 Points
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will today hear a batch of petitions, including those filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking a special probe into the Pegasus spyware scandal involving allegations that opposition leaders, journalists and others were targets. 1.A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, will hear the petitions. Justice Surya Kant is the second judge on the bench 2.The Editors' Guild of India, in its petition filed two days ago, requested the Supreme Court to seek details from the government on the spyware contract and a list of those targetted. 3.Earlier, senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar had sought a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a sitting of former judge into the snooping allegations. Their lawyer Kapil Sibal requested the Chief Justice to list the petition, saying it has "huge ramifications on freedom and liberty". Journalists, opposition leaders and judges were on the list of potential targets, Mr Sibal told the Chief Justice. 4.Two other petitions were filed earlier in the Supreme Court on the same case, one by CPM MP John Brittas and the other by advocate ML Sharma. 5.The global media investigation involving several leading publications, including The Wire, has disclosed that 300 phones from India were revealed to be on the list of potential targets on the leaked database of NSO, which supplies Israeli spyware Pegasus. It is not established, however, that all the phones were hacked. 6.Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, ace poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, ex-Election Commissioner, 40 journalists among others were found to be on alleged leaked list of potential targets. 7.The Supreme Court will also hear a separate plea filed by senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, whose name featured in the reported list of those who were targets of alleged snooping using Pegasus, seeking directions to the centre to disclose materials with respect to investigation and authorisation linked to the purported use of spyware on his mobile. 8.Dismissing demands for a probe, the government has maintained that there has been no unauthorised interception by its agencies, adding that allegations regarding government surveillance on specific people has no concrete basis or truth associated with it whatsoever. 9.The NSO group, which sells Pegasus to governments and government agencies only, says it is not connected to the leaked database of phone numbers. The government has said there is "no substance" in these reports. 10.Since the start of the monsoon session of parliament on July 19, the opposition has been demanding a discussion and an independent inquiry led by a Supreme Court judge into the snooping scandal.