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Half baked petitions based on newspaper reports need to be discouraged: SC

The apex court, however, said it should not be taken to mean that the news agencies are not trusted by the Court, but to emphasize the role that each pillar of democracy occupies in the polity

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Supreme Court | Indian Judiciary | News

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A view of the Supreme Court | Photo: PTI
A view of the Supreme Court | Photo: PTI

The Supreme Court, which appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of certain Indians, said on Wednesday that people should refrain from "trigger happy" filing of half baked petitions merely on a few newspaper reports.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said such petitions do not help the cause espoused by the individual filing the plea bur are rather a detriment to the cause itself.

"While we understand that the allegations made in these petitions pertain to matters about which ordinary citizens would not have information except for the investigating reporting done by agencies, looking to the quality of some of the petitions filed, we are constrained to observe that individuals should not file half baked petitions merely on a few newspaper reports," the bench said.

The bench said such an exercise (of filing petitions), far from helping the cause espoused by the individual filing the petition, is often detrimental to the cause itself.

This is because the Court will not have proper assistance in the matter, with the burden to even determine preliminary facts being left to the Court, it said.

"It is for this reason that trigger happy filing of such petitions in Courts, and more particularly in this Court which is to be the final adjudicatory body in the country, needs to be discouraged," the bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said.

The apex court, however, said it should not be taken to mean that the agencies are not trusted by the Court, but to emphasize the role that each pillar of democracy occupies in the polity.

"agencies report facts and bring to light issues which might otherwise not be publicly known. These may then become the basis for further action taken by an active and concerned civil society, as well

as for any subsequent filings made in Courts. But newspaper reports, in and of themselves, should not in the ordinary course be taken to be ready made pleadings that may be filed in Court," the bench said.

The apex court appointed a three-member panel of cyber experts to probe alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of certain people, saying every citizen ought to be protected against violations of privacy and security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from and its mere innovation does not render a court a mute spectator.

In one of the significant verdicts in recent times over the issue of citizens' right of privacy in relation to State's power to snoop in interest, the top court said that indiscriminate spying on individuals in a democratic country cannot be allowed while finding prima facie materials in pleas alleging snooping and ordered the probe monitored by a former apex court judge R V Raveendran.

The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas seeking independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter.

The pleas seeking independent probe are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus.

An international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, October 27 2021. 19:26 IST
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