Journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have petitioned the Supreme Court for an independent inquiry by a sitting or retired judge into the Pegasus snooping scandal. Theirs is the third petition to the top court demanding an investigation into the snooping, and the first by journalists, at least 40 of whom were targets or potential targets of the Israeli spyware.
According to , Ram and Kumar have sought a direction to the government to disclose if any of its agencies bought the Pegasus spyware and used it, directly or indirectly, to conduct surveillance.
“What are the implications of such a hack?” the veteran journalists asked in their petition. “Do they represent an attempt by agencies and organisations to muzzle and chill the exercise of free speech and expression of dissent in India?”
They contended that such snooping violates the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expression. Additionally, their petition stated, the Pegasus snooping bypassed the legal regime for surveillance under the Telegraph Act, and the “hack, interception or decryption occasioned by Pegasus spyware” constitutes a criminal offence punishable under various sections of the IT Act, including cyberterrorism.