The Supreme Court, while coming down heavily at the Centre on the Pegasus row, said that indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed.
“The state cannot get free pass every time by raising national security concerns. No omnibus prohibition can be called against judicial review. Centre should have justified its stand here and not render the court a mute spectator,” CJI NV Ramana was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.
The Supreme Court further constituted an independent experts’ committee to look into the allegations of widespread and targeted surveillance of politicians, journalists and activists using the Pegasus spyware.
“There has been no specific denial by the Centre. Thus, we have no option but to accept the submissions of petitioner prima facie and thus, we appoint an expert committee whose function will be overseen by the Supreme Court,” CJI Ramana added.
The functioning of the committee will be overseen by retired Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran.
He will be assisted by Alok Joshi, a former IPS officer and Dr Sandeep Oberoi.
Technical members of the committee are: Prof Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Dean at National Forensic Sciences University, Dr Prabaharan P and Dr Ashwin Anil Gumaste, IIT Bombay.