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technology | IST

Snooping without following statute is serious offence, says SC Bar Association’s Vikas Singh

Veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe by its sitting or retired judge into reports of government agencies using Israeli spyware Pegasus to allegedly snoop on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes.

Veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe by its sitting or retired judge into reports of government agencies using Israeli spyware Pegasus to allegedly snoop on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes.
This is the third petition in the apex court over the snooping controversy and the first plea filed by journalists.
The petition, likely to come up for hearing within next few days, seeks investigation into the hacking of phones using the Pegasus spyware saying it represented an attempt by agencies and organisations to muzzle and chill the exercise of free speech and expression of dissent in India.
Vikas Singh, President of Supreme Court Bar Association, said, “The allegation of somebody snooping on private calls without following statute in India is a very serious offence. Because privacy has been held by the Supreme Court to be a fundamental right and that fundamental right is now just a formality if somebody can just snoop into somebody’s phone and find out.”
“The ramifications and the implications of this Pegasus snooping is so large that I can’t spell out what are all the consequences that can happen. According to me, this was such a serious matter that the Supreme Court should have taken Suo Moto Cognizance on this because Supreme Court actually has recognised privacy to be a fundamental right very recently.”
On West Bengal panel, Singh said, “Supreme Court should give its stamp of approval to what the Mamata Banerjee government has done so that this controversy of whether this state government had the right to set-up this commission was there or not and empower that commission with more powers under the Supreme Court jurisdiction under Article 142 and ensure that this matter is taken to its logical end.”
On government statements, he said, “According to me statement by the government itself show that they are on the defensive. The statement made by the government itself proves that they are involved in this hacking and they are probably trying to say that even if the number was there authorised by us we may not have looked at what was happening in those numbers so that is why you are trying to justify.”
Watch accompanying video for more.