The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to the next Monday the hearing on the petitions on the Pegasus snoopgate on a request by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, to give him time to take instructions from the govt after going through the matters received as per the Court's direction to the parties.
After consulting Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant on his Bench, CJI Ramana fixed further hearing on August 16. The SG had sought the hearing not before Friday, but the CJI fixed it on Monday, stating, “on Friday, I have a personal inconvenience.”
Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, who is appearing with senior advocate Kapil Sibal for N Ram of the Hindu and others, pleaded for the court to issue notice to the Centre. The CJI, however, said he would take a call on Monday. Even in the last hearing, he did not issue any notice but advised the lawyers to give copies of their petitions to the government to enable the court to understand the government’s case.
During the brief hearing, the CJI appealed to the senior counsels to advise their clients raising the matter in newspaper and social media won’t help. “We expect they answer our queries through a proper debate in the court hall,” CJI Ramana said.
The CJI: “If you want to say anything in social media, twitter etc it’s your call. But if a debate is going on here, please answer here. Have some respect for the system.”
Justice Surya Kant: “Answer the questions here through affidavits instead of oral submissions.”
Turning to Sibal, the CJI stressed on “some discipline” expected from him as a senior counsel who has been also a minister. Sibal agreed with the court “when the case is going on here, there should not be discussion outside.” “This is all we want to request you on behalf of me and my brothers.”
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Jagdeep S Chhokar, a retd professor of IIM-Ahmedabad and now running own NGO, sought permission to file an additional affidavit on Friday.
PLEA FOR LIVE WEBCAST OF HEARING
Advocate Prashant Bhushan has sent a letter to CJI Ramana for “live webcast of hearings on the Pegasus matter” written by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information. The letter refers to a 2018 judgment in the Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India in which the SC had agreed to live-stream proceedings in important cases. It said there has been significant progress in the last few years with at least four HCs of Gujarat, Karnataka, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh currently live-streaming their proceedings on YouTube. The CJI was also reminded of his inauguration of the live-streaming of proceedings of the Gujarat HC in which he had underlined the significance of public broadcast in ensuring openness and access to justice for the people. The letter called for initiating the live-streaming of the proceedings in matters of public importance, starting with the Pegasus case, noting the Pegasus case deals with matters of public interest and its outcome will have wide ramifications.
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