Five journalists, whose names allegedly figured in a list of potential targets for alleged snooping using Pegasus software, have moved Supreme Court, contending that the unauthorised surveillance violated their fundamental rights.
The plea said such surveillance through sophisticated software such as Pegasus will have a “tremendous chilling effect” on the right to free speech, violate fundamental right to privacy and deter people from bringing forth information on wrongdoings in the government, and in turn will affect transparency and governance.
Those who moved the court are Paranjoy Thakurta, S N M Abidi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh and Ipsa Satakshi.
They urged the court to direct the government to produce all materials with respect to any use of Pegasus on them. They also urged the court to direct the Centre to put in place a judicial oversight mechanism to deal with any complaints on illegal breaches of privacy and hacking and punish officials responsible for such breaches.
The court has listed three petitions seeking independent probe in the matter for hearing on August 5. These include a plea by senior journalists N Ram and Shashi Kumar, another by advocate M L Sharma, and a third by CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas.