NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the setting up of an independent expert committee to probe the targeted surveillance of politicians, journalists, and human rights activists by using the Israeli Pegasus spyware.
The order was given by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana. Other judges on the bench were Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
The committee will be headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice R V Raveendran.
Justice Raveendran will be assisted by former IPS officer Alok Joshi and Chairman of the Sub-committee in the International Organization of Standardization.
Besides this, there will be a three-member technical committee to assist in the probe. The members of the technical committee are Dr. Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Dr. Prabaharan P., Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri (Kerala), Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.
The bench rejected the proposal of the Central government to constitute the probe committee, saying that ‘justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done.’ The bench observed that allowing the Centre to probe the allegations by itself would violate the judicial principles against bias.
The court said that it was compelled to pass the order for setting up of the probe committee because of various reasons, including the allegations of the right to privacy and freedom of speech impacted due to surveillance by using the Pegasus spyware.
The court said that petitions alleged that the central government had not taken a clear stand on the issue.
The rest of the details of the court order can be read at Livelaw.in