Pegasus Spyware Probe #6: Court Refuses To Stay Activities of West Bengal Commission

Pegasus Spyware Probe

On December 17th 2021, a three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli continued to hear the Pegasus Spyware Probe case. The Bench heard a challenge to the activities of the West Bengal Government’s Inquiry Commission. The Commission was constituted to investigate the Union government’s alleged use of Pegasus Spyware. 

Appearing for the State of West Bengal, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi had assured the Court on August 25th that the Inquiry Commission would not take action until the Court had decided the Pegasus petitions. Based on this assurance the Bench rejected the Global Village Foundation Public Trust’s plea for a stay order on the Commission’s activities. Read more about the hearing here.

The Bench delivered an Interim Order on October 27th 2021, constituting their own technical committee to investigate the allegations. Read more about the Interim Order here.

CJI Ramana inquired why the Commission had continued investigations despite the oral undertaking given by the State of West Bengal. Mr. Singhvi clarified that the Commission was informed of the restriction but the State of West Bengal did not control their actions.

Mr. Singhvi also noted that the inquiry commission had commenced its investigation only after the Bench pronounced its Interim Order on October 27th 2021.

Lead petitioner and advocate M.L. Sharma argued that the Commission should be held in contempt. The Bench did not pay heed to this argument. 

CJI Ramana issued notice to the inquiry commission and stayed its investigation.