Surveillance versus right to privacy| Five unmissable quotes from the Pegasus Order

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

­George Orwell, 1984


Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has appointed an Expert Committee to look into the truth or falsity of the allegations in the Pegasus Spyware case, “taking into account the public importance and the alleged scope and nature of the large-scale violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country.”

The what, the why, the who and the how: All you need to know about SC’s independent probe order in Pegasus case

Here are five unmissable quotes on right to privacy from the Pegasus order

  • Members of a civilized democratic society have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Privacy is not the singular concern of journalists or social activists. Every citizen of India ought to be protected against violations of privacy.
  • We live in the era of information revolution, where the entire lives of individuals are stored in the cloud or in a digital dossier. We must recognize that while technology is a useful tool for improving the lives of the people, at the same time, it can also be used to breach that sacred private space of an individual.
  • The right to privacy is directly infringed when there is surveillance or spying done on an individual, either by the State or by any external agency.
  • In a democratic country governed by the rule of law, indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards, by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.
  • It is undeniable that surveillance and the knowledge that one is under the threat of being spied on can affect the way an individual decides to exercise his or her rights. Such a scenario might result in self-censorship. This is of particular concern when it relates to the freedom of the press, which is an important pillar of democracy. Such chilling effect on the freedom of speech is an assault on the vital public-watchdog role of the press, which may undermine the ability of the press to provide accurate and reliable information.

While the Supreme Court was initially reluctant in interfering in the matter due to lack of material placed before it, here’s why it eventually decided to step in.

Pegasus| ‘National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from’. Here’s why the initially reluctant Supreme Court finally decided to interfere

[Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 985, decided on 27.10.2021]


Counsels:

For petitioners: Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Shyam Divan, Rakesh Dwivedi, Dinesh Dwivedi, Meenakshi Arora, Colin Gonsalves, ML Sharma

For Union of India: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.