The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the ongoing probe by the West Bengal government appointed commission headed by former apex court Justice M B Lokur into the Pegasus snooping allegations. A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli took note of the plea that despite the assurance of the West Bengal government that the Lokur panel would not proceed with the inquiry, the commission has commenced its work.
The apex court on October 27 had appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of certain people in India, saying every citizen needs protection against privacy violation and mere invocation of national security by the State does not render the court a mute spectator.
Former Supreme Court judge Lokur and former chief justice of Calcutta High Court Jyotirmay Bhattacharya are the members of the commission of inquiry announced by the West Bengal government last month.
An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware.