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Journalists N Ram, Sashi Kumar move SC for probe into Pegasus scandal

LS adjourned for ninth time over snooping, farm laws

New Delhi, July 27 (UNI): Senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have approached the Supreme Court for an independent probe headed by a former or sitting top court judge into the Pegasus surveillance scam relating to alleged snooping on opposition leaders, activists, journalists and judges among a host of other persons.

The fresh plea that comes as the third petition seeking probe into the spying scandal, claimed that the forensic analysis of several mobile phones belonging to persons targeted for surveillance by the Security Lab of Amnesty International has confirmed Pegasus-induced security breaches.

It also contended that mass surveillance using military-grade spyware abridges several fundamental rights and appears to represent an attempt to infiltrate, attack and destabilise independent institutions that act as critical pillars of our democratic setup.

The plea also sought a direction to the Centre to disclose if the government or any of its agencies have obtained licenses for Pegasus spyware or used it, either directly or indirectly, to conduct surveillance in any manner.

“Surveillance/interception is justified only in cases of public emergency or in the interests of public safety, and the existence of such conditions must be inferred reasonably and cannot be determined solely on the assessment of the government. Neither of these mandatory conditions has been met in the present case, rendering the surveillance wholly illegal,” the petition said.

Earlier, proceedings of the Lok Sabha were adjourned for the ninth time till 4.30 pm on Tuesday amid ruckus by the Opposition over various issues, including Pegasus snooping row and new farm bills.

As soon as the House reassembled after the eighth adjournment at 4 pm, the Opposition Members entered the Well of the House and started sloganeering over the issues. Matters under Rule 377 were taken up.

Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the Chair, made repeated requests to the agitating members to return to their seats.

When his repeated requests went in vain, he adjourned the House till 4.30pm.

Earlier also, the proceedings of the Lok Sabha were adjourned eight times on similar issues.

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