New Delhi: The West Bengal government Wednesday submitted before the Supreme Court that the two-member commission of inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judge, justice Madan B. Lokur, to probe the Pegasus snooping allegations, would not proceed till the top court hears the batch of petitions connected with snooping scandal.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the petitioner NGO Global Village Foundation Public Charitable Trust seeking disbandment of the commission, submitted there can’t be two parallel inquiries. “Please see nothing is done in the proceedings there while the court is hearing the matter”, said Salve.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the West Bengal government, objected to this argument.
A bench headed by chief justice N.V. Ramana and comprising justice Surya Kant said: “If we are hearing other matters, we expect some restraint”. The bench told Singhvi, at present issue is connected to other issues, in all fairness we expect you to wait. “We will hear it with the other matters sometime next week”, said the bench.
Justice Kant added the other petitions, against Pegasus snooping allegations, are likely to have pan-India impact. “We will have advantage of your assistance in those matters also, if we hear this with that”, said justice Kant. Singhvi replied between now and next week nothing earth shattering happening. “Your lordships word will create a splash”, he added.
Chief justice said they are only saying that this matter will be listed with other matters. “You’re forcing us to pass order”, said the chief justice. Singhvi replied please say nothing, I will convey it.
After hearing arguments, the top court issued notice and tagged the petition along with other matters of Pegasus snooping allegations.
The West Bengal questioned the motive behind the plea and claimed the trustee and chairman of the NGO had close links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate, Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
The top court on August 18, had agreed to examine the NGO’s petition, argued by advocate Saurabh Mishra, who sought immediate stay on proceedings before justice Lokur’s commission to avoid any parallel inquiry.