New Delhi, Aug 18 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to West Bengal government on a plea challenging the setting up of a two-member commission of inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judge, justice Madan B. Lokur, to probe the Pegasus snooping allegations.
A bench headed by chief justice N.V. Ramana said: “We will hear this along with other similar matters. Issue notice. List on August 25”. However, the top court refused to stay the proceedings of the committee and added that the plea will be heard along with petitions seeking probe into Pegasus snooping allegations.
The top court also issued notice to Centre as the PIL argued that a state government can’t constitute inquiry commission to probe a national controversy with worldwide ramifications. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted he would assist court in constitutional issues involved in the PIL. “It is unconstitutional is all I can say (as of now),” he said.
Advocate Saurabh Mishra, representing the petitioner, sought stay on the committee proceedings and contended that the issue is being examined at a pan-India level. The bench also comprising justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose refused to stay the proceedings and remarked that it is only taking “preliminary steps”.
The commission of inquiry also has on board former acting chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, justice (retired) Jyotirmay Bhattacharya. The committee has been tasked to inquire into allegations that Pegasus had been misused to spy on Indian lawyers, journalists, government officials, constitutional functionaries and others.
The top court had already issued notice on Tuesday to the central government on a bunch of petitions seeking probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations.