The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, seeing her government’s response to wind up a judicial commission it had set up under its former judge Justice Madan B Lokur to probe the illegal surveillance of the media persons, politicians, eminent people and the judges of SC.
Refusing to stay the proceedings of the 2-member inquiry commission, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana heading a bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose said the plea will be heard along with a batch of petitions seeking probe into the Pegasus surveillance. “We will hear this along with other similar matters. Issue notice. List on August 25,” the CJI ordered.
Describing as “unconstitutional” the setting up of the Justice Lokur Commission of Inquiry by the West Bengal government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta offered to assist the court.
Justice Surya Kant said the Justice Lokur Commission of Inquiry (CoI) was only taking “preliminary steps” as court declined plea by advocate Saurabha Mishra for the stay of the proceedings before the CoI as the issue is being examined by the top court at pan-India level.
Justice Lokur Commission of Inquiry that also includes former acting chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya has been tasked to inquire into the allegations the Pegasus spyware was misused to carry out surveillance on well-known media persons, politicians, eminent people and the SC judges, perceived to be critical of the Centre or could be a potential discomfort.
While spurning an offer on Tuesday by the Centre it was ready to disclose whether or not it used Pegasus spyware for snooping only to a technical committee of expert — neutral and independent of government — and not divulge in public domain by putting it on an affidavit, the top court had sought reply from the Centre on a batch of petition seeking probe into the use of Pegasus spyware for snooping.
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