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ADR co-founder Jagdeep Chhokar’s Pegasus petition in SC seeks prosecution of govt officers for surveillance

This is one of many petitions that have been filed before the apex court seeking an SIT investigation into the Pegasus revelations.  A writ petition filed by Prof Jagdeep Chhokar*, the co-founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), in the Supreme Court called upon the Union government to take punitive action against its officers who were responsible for the purported surveillance through Pegasus spyware. The Union government is the respondent in the petition.  “...to take exemplary punitive action including criminal prosecution against the officers and agent(s) of the Respondent who were in charge of or responsible for surveillance of the Petitioner,” read the petition filed by advocate Rahul Narayan on August 2, 2021.  Chhokar was one of the 300 Indians featured in the leaked list of more than 50,000 potential targets of surveillance (through Pegasus) by government clients of the NSO Group.     Why it matters? Given the severity of the Pegasus revelations exposed by a consortium of news organisations, many fear that the surveillance threatens to erode the sanctity of freedom of speech and expression in a constitutional democracy like India. The NSO Group has explicitly stated that the spyware is licensed only to vetted governments and their agencies.The Centre has evaded questions on the purchase and use of Pegasus whenever it has been asked to respond in Parliament.  Further, the government has not ordered an investigation into the matter even though countries like France have moved swiftly to investigate the claims made by the consortium.  Prayers of the petition The…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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