After taking note of the Centre’s solicitor general’s concerns that he would be busy discussing a money laundering case in another court, the Supreme Court consented to hear a batch of pleas alleging the use of Israeli spyware for monitoring of select persons in India on Friday rather than Wednesday.
According to the cause list posted on the Supreme Court’s website, a bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana was scheduled to hear the Pegasus issue for the first time on Wednesday after ordering the formation of a three-member panel of cyber experts to investigate the spying accusations on October 27 last year.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, standing for the Centre, requested the bench, which also included justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli, that the intended hearing of the pleas on Wednesday be postponed to Friday (February 25) because he will be arguing before another court.
The law officer stated that he would notify the counsel for the opposing party who had filed the PILs.
According to the website, a special bench has scheduled a hearing on February 23 for as many as 12 PILs, including those filed by the Editors Guild of India and veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar, and was expected to read and analyse the report to be presented by the supreme court-appointed panel.
The panel, which included three experts in cyber security, digital forensics, networks, and hardware, was tasked with “inquiring, investigating, and determining” whether Pegasus spyware was used to spy on citizens, and their investigation would be overseen by former Supreme Court Justice R V Raveendran.
Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Prabaharan P, and Ashwin Anil Gumaste were on the panel.