Pegasus case: Supreme Court adjourns hearing till September 13
The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a plea seeking an investigation into the Pegasus surveillance scandal. The court adjourned the matter till September 13 as it approved the central government's request for more time to file an affidavit. The case pertains to alleged surveillance of politicians, journalists, activists, etc., using Israeli spyware that is only sold to governments.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Bopanna was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team. The petitions include those filed by Advocate ML Sharma, journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, the Editors Guild of India, five Pegasus targets, among others.
As the court presided over the matter, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta informed the court that there was some difficulty in filling an affidavit as certain officers were not available. The SG hence requested for a short adjournment till Thursday or Monday. "There is some difficulty regarding that affidavit. I couldn't ensure the stand. Please consider accommodating me till day after," he submitted.
The CJI responded, "But you have already filed an affidavit." To this, the SG said, "Yes, but on the last occasion, Your Lordships had inquired if we would like to file a further affidavit. For some reason, some officers were not there, I could not meet, etc. It could not be found out," the SG replied.
The SG then asked for an adjournment if the advocates representing the petitioners had no objection. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal—representing N Ram and Sashi Kumar—said that there was no objection. The court then listed the matter for hearing on September 13.
Earlier, the petitioners had highlighted that the previous affidavit submitted by the Centre was "limited" and evaded the question of whether the government or its agencies have ever used Pegasus. The Centre had refused to file an additional affidavit, citing national security concerns. It had, however, agreed to put the details before an expert committee to be constituted by it.