The Supreme Court on Friday suspended the inquiry into claims of Pegasus espionage by a commission set up by the West Bengal government and led by retired Justice MB Lokur. The appeal was taken into consideration by a bench consisting of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, who stated that the panel has begun its work despite assurances from the West Bengal administration. The state administration had promised that the Lokur committee would not pursue the matter any further.
On October 27, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee of cyber experts to investigate the suspected use of Pegasus, Israel’s espionage programme, to monitor individuals in India. It had stated that every citizen need protection from invasions of privacy, and that the court cannot remain a quiet spectator as the government invokes national security.
The Commission of Inquiry includes former Supreme Court Justice Lokur and Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya. Last month, the West Bengal government announced the formation of an inquiry body. More than 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers are on the list of possible people for surveillance using Pegasus spy software, according to a coalition of international media companies.