Opposing parallel proceedings and debates “on social media by some petitioners who have called for an independent investigation into Pegasus’ alleged spy problem, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that there must be some discipline and that they had to have some confidence in the system.
A bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, who said he would take an appeal Aug. 16 about whether to send a notice to the Center on Pegasus Line Inquiry Requests, said he was not against the debate but when the case is pending in the Supreme Court it should be deliberated here.
The tribunal, also composed of Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, said it expects petitioners interested in the case to answer any questions the tribunal puts to them through a proper debate in front of them. the court and not outside.
You see, once you come to this tribunal, we expect a debate to take place here and we expect them to answer questions, the bench told applicants’ counsel, adding: They need to have some confidence in the system.
He observed that instead of having a parallel proceeding or a parallel debate, whatever the petitioners want to say, they can file an affidavit in court and the court would review every content of it.
CJI told lead counsel Kapil Sibal, representing veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar who filed one of the petitions, that there must be some discipline.
Sibal said, Absolutely, I completely agree with you. When the matter is in court, there should be no public statements of any kind. I completely agree with you.
At first, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Center, told the judiciary that he had received copies of the petitions, with the exception of one possibly filed by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha.
It’s not a grievance, they can serve it. I may need instructions, Mehta said from the bench, adding that I am reviewing the case. I need instructions from the government. Subject to the convenience of your lordships, if I can have time until Friday. I need two business days to get instructions.
CJI said the case will go to a hearing on Aug. 16, as it has personal drawbacks on Friday.
Senior lawyer CU Singh, representing one of the petitioners, told the bench that an opinion would be issued on the petitions.
Monday, I’ll take a call. See you on Monday, said the bench.
Lawyer Manish Tewari, representing Yashwant Sinha, said they served the copy of their petition on the Center.
During the hearing, the judiciary referred to the arbitration process and said the courts had asked questions of both parties.
We’ve all asked you a few questions. We are waiting for material, information or something. You know the arbitration process from the way the courts will ask questions. Sometimes it can be embarrassing for you, sometimes it can encourage you. Either way, both sides have to face this music, the bench said.
Sibal said that on the last court date he appeared for Ram and that there had been a reference to Pegasus-related proceedings in a California court.
He said Ram had been trolled on social media.
See, that’s the problem when a line was taken out of context, the bench observed, adding that he had asked questions and that had been disproportionate.
The Supreme Court said that was not correct and that the debate should not go over the line for anyone.
You see, we follow a procedure and the system. They need to have faith in the system, the bench said.
Sibal said the problem involved in the case is serious and the government or others should be given an opportunity to explain the position.
The bench said it has always given the petitioners as well as the government an opportunity.
See, any of the petitioners or anyone interested in the matter who says something in the papers or the media or whatever, we would expect them to answer all questions, all questions. questions, to all things when we bring it to you through proper debate in the yard, not outside, he observed.
Meanwhile, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information, wrote a letter to CJI requesting a live webcast of the hearing in the Pegasus case.
The Supreme Court heard a series of pleadings, including one filed by the Editors Guild of India, calling for an independent investigation into the alleged Pegasus spy case.
They are linked to reports of suspected espionage by government agencies of prominent citizens, politicians and scribes using Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO.
An international media consortium has reported that more than 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers are on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware.
At the hearing into the case on Aug. 5, the highest court said the Pegasus-related espionage allegations were “of a serious nature” if the reports against them are correct.
He also asked the applicants whether they had made any efforts to lodge a criminal complaint in this regard.
The Supreme Court, which asked the applicants to serve the copies of the pleadings on the Center, also asked why the case suddenly arose now when it came to light in 2019.
Editors Guild of India called in its plea for a special investigative team to be set up to investigate the reported surveillance of journalists and others.
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