New Delhi : In the much awaited ruling on alleged snooping of citizens by government agencies using malware, the Supreme Court observed that the matter was grave and involved fundamental rights of the people. In verdict pronounced today, the court ordered setting up of an independent experts committee to probe the allegations.
The Experts Committee shall be overseen by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice RV Raveendran who will be assisted by :
1) Alok Joshi, former IPS Officer (1976 batch)
2) Dr. Sundeep Oberoi, (Chairman, Sub Committee on International Organisation of Standardisation/International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee)
The 3-member Technical Committee shall comprise :
1) Dr. Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor(Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
2) Dr. Prabakaran P., Professor(School of Engineering) Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeettam, Amritapuri, Kerala and,
3) Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor(Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.
The committee has been directed to conduct speedy investigations. Next hearing will be listed after 8 weeks.
The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said the court is ordering the monitored-probe owing to “compelling circumstances” which it listed were :
i. Right to privacy and freedom of speech are alleged to be impacted, which needs to be examined.
ii. The entire citizenry is affected by such allegations due to the potential chilling effect
iii. No clear stand taken by the Respondent-Union of India regarding actions taken by it.
iv. Seriousness accorded to the allegations by foreign countries and involvement of foreign parties.
v. Possibility that some foreign authority, agency or private entity is involved in placing citizens of this country under surveillance.