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Pegasus: TN MP seeks contempt of court proceedings against home secretaries

Pegasus: TN MP seeks contempt of court proceedings against home secretaries

New Delhi: MP from Tamil Nadu and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan has sought the Attorney General of India (AG) KK Venugopal's consent for contempt of court proceedings against directors of Israeli NSO Group, home secretary Ajay Bhalla and former home secretary Rajiv Gauba in the Pegasus snooping case, The Wire reports.

According to a letter he wrote the AG, the home secretary is the appropriate authority in the country regarding the surveillance deployment on citizens under the Telegraph Act and the Information Technology Act. The hacking and surveillance occurred during the mentioned home secretaries' tenures, which is why he has listed them as contemnors in the plea.

In the letter, he argued that it's been apparent that these people were involved in an effort of military-grade surveillance against a Supreme Court (SC) justice- while he was in office- two SC registry officials and an SC staffer. The medium used for the snooping was spyware called Pegasus, sold to "vetted governments" by the NSO Group, the Thirumavalvan said.

This is a shocking interference and obstruction of the administration of justice, and these people are accountable under S.2(c)(iii) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, he said in the letter.

Thirumavalavan further said that the Indian government has been "equivocal and vague" when asked whether or not it purchased the spyware and spied on its citizens, while certain branches of the government issued denials.

The letter further argued that, for the effective function of the judiciary, the protection of the authority of courts at all costs is necessary, and any unjust interference in its functioning will weaken the cornerstone of the constitutional scheme, jeopardising the Rule of law and civilised life in the society.

Thirumavalavan alleged that the Home Ministry deliberately attempted to reduce the court's independence by deploying Pegasus and weakened the public's trust in the judiciary. He argued that one arm of the State tried to dislodge another arm, the judiciary, which is the central pillar of democracy.

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TAGS:ContemptOfCourt Pegasus scandal VCK 
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