- In the Supreme Court, the Centre claims it has nothing to hide in the Pegasus case.
- Solicitor General believes that the matter should be brought up by a committee rather than being debated in open court.
- SG said that the matter is of national security interest, and that any revelation by the government on the subject could help terrorist organisations.
In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the federal government reiterated that it had nothing to hide in the Pegasus snooping issue. On behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated that the subject involves national security as the court resumed the hearing on the petitions for a court-monitored investigation into the Pegasus issue.
“We have nothing to hide. These are the issues of national security,” Mehta explained.
“Every country purchases this software, and the petitioners want to know if the software has been used. Terrorists will be able to take prevention action if we reveal this information. We cannot hide anything from the court because these are national security issues,” he stressed.
The Solicitor General went on to say that the subject must be heard by a committee and that it cannot be discussed in public. He further stated that some web portals were using software to construct narratives.
He further stated that some web portals were using software to construct narratives. “We may reveal this to an expert committee that will act as an impartial body. Would you, as a constitutional court, expect such matters to be brought to the court’s attention and put up for public debate? The findings of the committee will be presented to the court. But, how can we sensationalise the issue.”
In response, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana stated that no one intends to jeopardise national security.
“Neither we, as a court, nor you, as the SG, nor all lawyers, as officers of the court, would want to jeopardise the nation’s security. We’re not going to say anything for the sake of national security. Some prominent people have claimed that snooping on phones is possible; nevertheless, this can only be done with the authorization of the relevant government. What’s the problem if the authority files an affidavit before us?” the court questioned.
“We’re all in our own right responsible citizens,” the SG said. “The government has no problems in saying that in front of an expert panel. If we say we’re not using Pegasus and a terror organisation uses technology to connect with sleeper cells, they’ll adjust apparatus in such a manner that it’s not Pegasus compatible.”
In response to the batch of PILs seeking a court-monitored investigation into the alleged use of Pegasus, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre. The court has given the Centre ten days to respond in full detail.