Since the Pegasus exposé, four other petitions have been filed before the apex court with a majority of them seeking an independent SIT investigation into the matter. "Declare that the installation and/or use of spyware such as Pegasus is illegal and unconstitutional and is ultra vires Part III of the Constitution," read one of the prayers in a writ petition* submitted to the Supreme Court of India by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, one of the 40 Indian journalists featured in the leaked list of potential targets for Pegasus surveillance. Filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution against the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Home Affairs, the petition (a copy of which MediaNama has seen) also prays for an order directing the central government to disclose all documents on the use of Pegasus and establish a judicial oversight mechanism to deal with complaints on illegal breaches of privacy. Thakurta's petition was clubbed with two other petitions filed on behalf of four journalists—S.N.M. Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh, and Ipsa Shataksi— who also featured on the leaked list. All three petitions will be heard together. Why it matters? The Pegasus Project is an investigation carried out by a consortium of 17 news organisations that accessed a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers believed to be potential surveillance targets of Pegasus spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group. The list suggests that journalists, politicians, activists, businessmen, and bureaucrats across 11 countries including India were probable targets of the spyware.…
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