Senior Congress leader and former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar on Wednesday said the Supreme Court decision to form a panel to probe the Pegasus snooping allegations is a welcome reiteration of the non-negotiable constitutional right to privacy.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the alleged use of Pegasus for surveillance of certain people in India, saying every citizen needs protection against privacy violation and mere invocation of “national security by State” does not render the court a “mute spectator”.
In a statement, Kumar said, “The order reinforces the court’s claim as the custodian of the citizen’s fundamental rights.”
“The order holds power to account and reassures citizens that the imperatives of constitutional governance will be enforced and that obfuscation on the part of government will not be allowed to defeat fundamental freedoms and inalienable human rights,” he said.
In a significant verdict over the issue of protecting citizens’ right to privacy, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana asserted that in a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.
Stating that it was compelled to take up the cause to determine the truth and get to the bottom of the spying allegations, the SC said the entire citizenry is affected by these charges due to the “potential chilling effect”, lamenting that no clear stand was taken by the Centre regarding actions taken by it over the Pegasus row.Internet Explorer Channel Network