Pegasus row: Centre says will file detailed affidavit, SC to hear on September 13

The Supreme Court on September 7 adjourned, till September 13, the hearing on a batch of plea seeking probe into alleged misuse of Pegasus spyware to snoop on citizens as the Centre informed the top court that it will file a detailed affidavit by then.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana had issued a notice to the Centre on the pleas last month, but made it clear then that it did not want the government to disclose anything which compromises national security.

Close to a dozen pleas have been filed, including the one filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before the Supreme Court bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice AS Bopanna that due to some difficulties, the affidavit, sought by the bench, could not be filed.

He requested the top court to list the matter for hearing either on September 9 or 13.

Mehta said: “There is some difficulty with the affidavit. We had filed one and you had enquired, if we want to file another one… some officers were not there.”

The bench pointed out that Centre had already filed a short affidavit in the matter. Mehta responded that since the top court had issued notice in the matter, therefore a more detailed response would be filed.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing senior journalist N Ram, submitted that he does not have any objection to Mehta’s request.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench ordered the matter be listed on September 13.

On August 16, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to bring on record a detailed affidavit addressing the contentions of petitioners, whether government bought Pegasus or used it, or it wasn’t used at all. The Centre had informed the top court that to dispel any wrong narrative spread, it will constitute “a committee of experts in the field which will go into all aspects of the issue”.

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