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Pegasus headway

Photo: AFPPremium
Photo: AFP

What we require is an independent probe, without which it would be hard to assess if people’s right to privacy, as granted by our Constitution and affirmed by the apex court , was violated. In a democracy, we have a right to know

The Centre on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court denying allegations that it used the controversial Pegasus spyware to snoop on opposition leaders, journalists, rights activists and others. It said that the petitions in court demanding an independent probe in the matter were based on “conjectures and surmises or on other unsubstantiated media reports or incomplete or uncorroborated material", and added that it will form a committee of experts to examine the issue and dispel any contortions being spread by vested interests.

Its response, however, leaves ambiguity over whether it was a Pegasus client, as the opposition has sought clarity on. To be sure, after much pressure, it did recently lay out a statement in Parliament denying having used Pegasus. But its failure to state this explicitly in court could fuel suspicions. Nevertheless, that the Centre has decided to have a panel of experts look into the matter is a start. What we require is an independent probe, without which it would be hard to assess if people’s right to privacy, as granted by our Constitution and affirmed by the apex court , was violated. In a democracy, we have a right to know.

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