The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear the case relating to the Pegasus surveillance scandal on February 25, after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested for a new date before the Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, pointing out that he is supposed to be arguing a different part-heard case on Wednesday.
The Pegasus panel, appointed by the Supreme Court, have submitted an interim report appraising the apex court about the progress on the probe. The matter was listed for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli on February 23. The panel had earlier said that only two people submitted their mobile phones with it for forensic examination.
On October 27 last year, the top court said it was compelled to take up the cause to determine the truth, as it appointed an independent expert technical committee supervised by a retired top court judge, Justice R.V. Raveendran, to probe the Pegasus snooping allegations.
The top court had authorised the technical committee to devise its own procedure to effectively implement and answer the terms of reference. The committee can hold an investigation it deems fit and take statements of any person in connection with the inquiry and call for records of any authority or individual.
Justice Raveendran is overseeing the functioning of the technical committee and he is assisted by Alok Joshi, former IPS officer and Dr Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, Sub Committee in International Organisation of Standardisation/International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee.
The three members of the technical committee are Dr Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Dr Prabaharan P., Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala, and Dr Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair, Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
A batch of petitions, including those by advocate M.L. Sharma, CPI-M MP John Brittas, journalist N. Ram, former IIM professor Jagdeep Chokkar, Narendra Mishra, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Rupesh Kumar Singh, S.N.M. Abdi and Editors Guild of India were filed seeking an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations.