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Dushyant Dave, one of the country’s foremost lawyers, has called the Supreme Court’s Pegasus order “a historic decision” and “a watershed in the history of the court”. Dave says “the judgement is, in fact, sunshine in these dark days” but adds it’s “a decision that has surprised the entire country”.
In an interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Dave, a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said the judgement is based on the Supreme Court’s assumption that Pegasus was used and that the right to privacy of Indian citizens was breached. He says the language used by the Supreme Court about national security and privacy “clearly establishes the court is worried about the infringement of citizen’s right”.
“The Supreme Court has clearly and categorically stood with the citizens of India,” he continued, adding, “It has told the government enough is enough”.He said the Supreme Court has said, “We are here as watchdogs.”
Asked if the appointment of Justice Raveendran, a former judge of the Supreme Court, is a good choice to head the Supreme Court-appointed committee, Dave said he is “one of the most outstanding choices the judges could have ever thought of… extraordinarily upright, fiercely independent and brilliant”. More importantly, he added, Justice Raveendran has “a keen sense of probing”.
Dave was not concerned by the fact that one of the members of the committee, Alok Joshi, is a former head of the National Technical Research Organisation, to which he was appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
When asked if the Supreme Court had made certain that NTRO is not an organisation that acquired Pegasus because otherwise Joshi’s appointment of Alok Joshi could create a conflict of interest, Dave said that if there had been a conflict of interest Joshi would have made that clear to the Supreme Court. He said no one accepts an appointment by the top court and does not disclose such a conflict.
Speaking about the terms of reference set by the Supreme Court for the committee, Dave said they are more than adequate to cover all the issues that could arise when the committee seeks to “enquire, investigate and determine”.