Pegasus row: SC pulls up lawyer, says no notice for Prime Minister

New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up advocate M.L. Sharma for making Prime Minister Narendra Modi as respondent in his petition seeking a court monitored SIT probe into the Pegasus snooping issue.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant said: “You have included certain individuals (Prime Minister in the petition). We can’t issue notice like this. Don’t try to take advantage of things, you have a defective memo of parties.”

Sharma had argued that the government is fabricating material in the computer through this software and made the Prime Minister and CBI as respondents in his petition.

The bench replied, “This is not the way to file a PIL, where is the material other than paper cuttings.”

Sharma argued that his petition is based on facts and not merely newspaper cuttings. He also agreed to amend the parties as respondents in his petition, after the bench objected to making an individual as respondent in his petition.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing N. Ram, argued that Pegasus is a rogue technology, and it is entirely illegal, as it infiltrates into our lives through telephone, and it hears and watches. Sibal emphasized that it is an assault on privacy and human dignity.

The top court noted that there are too many petitions, and it has to see on which petitions it has to issue formal notice and on which it shouldn’t. The top court asked petitioners to serve copy on the Union of India and indicated that only in a few petitions, it may issue notice on Tuesday after hearing the views of the Centre.

Sharma’s plea said: “The Pegasus scandal is a matter of grave concern and an attack on the Indian democracy, country’s security and judiciary. The widespread use of surveillance is morally disfiguring. National security implications of this software are huge”.

Insisting for a court-monitored probe, Sharma’s plea contended that the scandal involves issues concerning national security and judicial independence. Several petitioners have filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping issue. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.

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