- Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has appointed an expert committee [to be overseen by a retired apex court judge (Justice Raveendran Committee)] in the Pegasus case
- Under the case, the Union Government is alleged to have used spyware for surveillance on private citizens.
- The court rejected the government’s plea to set up its own probe.
- The court asserted that the government appointment of probe would violate the settled judicial principle against bias, i.e., that ‘justice must not only be done, but also be seen to be done’,”
- On account of the government’s inaction to file a detailed response to the allegations made by the petitioners, the Court has constituted a panel of experts under former SC judge Justice R V Raveendran.
- The court has also asked the Raveendran committee to make recommendations on a legal and policy framework to protect citizens against surveillance and enhance cyber security of the country.
- The court has set seven terms of reference for the committee, which are essentially facts that need to be ascertained to decide the issue.
- The court reiterated that right to privacy is as sacrosanct as human existence and is inalienable to human dignity and autonomy.
- The Right to Privacy was held as a part of fundamental right by the Supreme Court in K S Puttaswamy case, 2017.
- Any surveillance or snooping done on an individual by the state or any outside agency is an infringement of that person’s right to privacy.
The order is a welcome and an emphatic reassertion of the SC’s role and responsibilities as the custodian of individual rights enshrined in the Constitution.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT