The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will pass an interim order on the Pegasus spyware case in the next few days.
The top court’s observation comes after the Centre’s denial to file a detailed affidavit clarifying whether Pegasus spyware was used or not.
The top court reserved its order on a batch of petitions seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the court will pass an interim order in the next few days.
“Beating around the bush…we will pass some interim order,” the chief justice told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre.
The Centre informed the bench that it is not going to file a detailed affidavit, after taking time twice to take a decision, whether it will file an affidavit or not on a batch of petitions seeking an inquiry into the alleged use of spyware Pegasus.
Mehta submitted that government can constitute a technical committee of independent domain experts, who can examine the petitioners’ allegations that their phones were affected by Pegasus. The Centre said this committee can submit its report to the top court.
The top court pointed at the response of the former Minister for Electronics and Information Technology in Parliament in 2019. However, Mehta highlighted a recent statement made by the Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology of India on the floor of the Parliament clarifying the government’s stand.
A battery of senior advocates — Kapil Sibal, Rakesh Dwivedi, Dinesh Dwivedi, Shyam Divan and Meenakshi Arora –representing various petitioners objected to the Centre’s stand on the matter.
Sibal, representing veteran journalist N. Ram, said the government should clarify whether it used Pegasus or not? Sibal added that it is unbelievable that the government said it would not tell the court about the use of spyware.
“We thought the government will file a counter-affidavit. We are considering some interim order or some other order, we have to pass,” the bench noted during the hearing.