In this Jul 20, 2021 file photo, Congress party workers shout slogans during a protest accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of using military-grade spyware to monitor political opponents, journalists and activists in New Delhi, India. India’s top court established a committee of experts to look into the accusations on Oct 27, 2021. (MANISH SWARUP/ FILE PHOTO / AP PHOTO)
NEW DELHI – India's top court on Wednesday set up a three-member expert committee, to be supervised by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, the alleged useto probe of Israeli spyware Pegasus for unauthorized surveillance of the country's citizens.
The apex court said there had been no specific denial by the federal government and the government could not give any clarity despite being given "ample opportunity" to do so.
"A vague denial from the government is not sufficient," the top court said. "Thus we have no option but to accept the submissions of petitioner prima facie and thus we appoint an expert committee whose function will be overseen by the Supreme Court."
The Supreme Court said the state cannot get a free pass every time national security is raised. The committee will be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice R. V. Ravindran and a senior police officer will assist him, along with officials from the National Forensic University
The Supreme Court said the state cannot get a free pass every time national security is raised. The committee will be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice R. V. Ravindran and a senior police officer will assist him, along with officials from the National Forensic University.
The committee has to "expeditiously probe" the charge and report to the top court by the next hearing two months later.
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Pegasus snooping scandal involves allegations that opposition politicians, journalists, activists and others were targeted by Israeli Pegasus spyware sold only to governments.
Several people have approached the country's Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into the mass surveillance allegations related to the matter.
The Indian government denied all charges of snooping as "false and baseless".
The Pegasus phone-hacking scandal has triggered protests in the parliament and forced repeated adjournments during the monsoon session.