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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Pegasus row: Bengal govt says Lokur panel won’t proceed till SC hears pleas

The state government submitted before the Supreme Court that it had acted within its legal authority to appoint the commission since the Central government did not find it necessary to launch its own probe, Live Law reported.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 25, 2021 3:21:55 pm
The state had set up the two-member Commission of Inquiry, which also comprises former Calcutta High Court Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya, to probe the alleged surveillance of Indian citizens using the Israeli Pegasus spyware. (File photo)

The West Bengal government Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the two-member Commission of Inquiry, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Madan B Lokur, to look into allegations surrounding the Pegasus spyware scandal, will not proceed until the apex court hears petitions seeking a probe into the alleged surveillance scandal as well as those challenging the state government’s decision to appoint the commission.

The state government submitted before the Supreme Court that it had acted within its legal authority to appoint the commission since the Central government did not find it necessary to launch its own probe, Live Law reported.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said it is likely to pass a comprehensive order on a batch of petitions related to the Pegasus scandal by next week, Bar and Bench reported. “We are saying that next week we will pass a comprehensive order. In the meantime, if you start an enquiry, we will have to pass an order,” the Court said.

The state had set up the two-member Commission of Inquiry, which also comprises former Calcutta High Court Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya, to probe the alleged surveillance of Indian citizens using the Israeli Pegasus spyware. However, a petition was then filed by NGO Global Village Foundation Public Charitable Trust for disbanding the said commission.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued notice on the plea to quash the July 27 notification of the West Bengal government setting up a two-member panel to inquire into allegations of use of Pegasus spyware for illegal surveillance.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta termed the constitution of the committee “unconstitutional”. Stating that he will assist the bench on the point of constitutionality, he said, “It is unconstitutional is all I can say.”

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