Pegasus – GOI again comes to Supreme Court without an affidavit

Supreme Court says it feels compelled to pass an order in 2 or 3 days

Supreme court on pegasus
Supreme court on Pegasus

At the Supreme Court hearing on 13 September 2021 to again take up the numerous petitions on using the Israeli NSO Pegasus spyware against Indian citizens, the government again could not provide the affidavit they had sought additional time for delivering.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice Hima Kohli is hearing the case to determine who ordered the expensive malware to be injected into the cellphones journalists and others. The phones were apparently hacked without their permission or knowledge – and any legal process or security concern being voiced.

The government now seems to have changed its mind about filing an affidavit at all. Instead, Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, urged the court to allow the government to form a committee of ‘Domain Experts’ who can look into the allegations that have been filed against them by several citizens, journalists, politicians, and human rights activists. The Solicitor General assured the court that its ‘Domain Experts’ will have no relation with the government so that the experts can check and place their report in front of it.

Several petitioners’ advocates questioned the idea of the domain experts committee submitting a report.

Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, in whose phone the Amnesty International lab found evidence of the use of Pegasus, represented by senior advocate Dinesh Dwivedi, said, “In one place they say that the allegations are baseless but in other place they say allegations are serious and so they are constituting a committee.”

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves too struck a similar note, “…[W]e cannot rely on the principal wrongdoer to form a committee and do an investigation.”

Supreme Court reserves verdict

The Supreme Court repeated what it had said earlier regarding the affidavit, “We are repeatedly saying that we don’t want things on national security in the public domain. Petitioners have also said. Suppose the committee is formed. Its report will also come in the public domain.”

Justice Kant asked, “The court just wanted to know whether you have violated the privacy of the citizen or not. The surveillance has been done with permission or not. Is there any interception done by other agencies unlawfully or not?”

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for journalists N Ram and Shashi Kumar, said the government not filing the detailed affidavit was “unbelievable.”

“We are reserving and will pass an interim order. It might take 2-3 days to pass the orders,” the bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said after hearing the petitioners and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here