By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it is planning to set up a committee of experts to look into allegations of unauthorised surveillance using Pegasus software, adding a formal order will be issued by next week.

The information assumes significance since the Centre had earlier offered to set up a panel on its own to look into allegations of snooping on civil society. Chief Justice N V Ramana said the matter was taking time because some experts it wanted to induct had declined citing personal difficulties. “We will be able to finalise the members of by next week and pronounce our orders.”

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The remarks came when he was hearing some other case in which senior advocate C U Singh, one of the petitioner’s lawyers in the Pegasus case, was appearing. The top court had on September 13 reserved its order, saying it only wanted to know whether or not the Centre illegally used Pegasus to snoop on journalists, activists and politicians. The Centre had stoutly refused to file an detailed affidavit citing national security.

The Congress appreciated the SC’s initiative to set up a probe panel, saying it is a step in the right direction. “The Pegasus spy scandal is… an assault on national security and privacy… The solution is simple — A SC-monitored full investigation. SC observation of setting up a technical committee is a right step in this direction,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.