Oppn divided on taking Pegasus jointly to SC

Kashmir Times. Dated: 8/1/2021 12:43:01 PM

NEW DELHI, Jul 31: Even while the opposition parties are united in the blockade of Parliament until Pegasus spying is discussed, but they are divided on a proposal discussed twice this week to jointly move the Supreme Court for an investigation into it.

Though the dominant view was to take the legal recourse, the Congress is reluctant. It scuttled a decision by pleading that it would like to consult its top lawyers. Its reluctance stems from the fear of an adverse court judgment providing relief to the government cornered on the issue, as it happened with Rafale in 2019.

The Congress lawyers have told the party leadership that they find no need to go to the court since the issue is already flagged for consideration by the Supreme Court the next week as assured by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana only on Friday. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is also a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress, got the case listed the next week by mentioning it on behalf of senior journalists N Ram and Sasi Kumar.

Moreover, they say some of them are in any case going to appear in the court on behalf of those who have filed the petitions. They do not agree with a view of the opposition leaders that a joint petition will create a moral pressure.

They point out that the Congress had opposed the idea of moving the court over the Rafale deal as well on their advice, but it were former BJP ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan went to the Supreme Court and cut a sorry figure as the court refused to order an inquiry.

That judgment came from a Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who was awarded a Rajya Sabha membership after his retirement. The opposition leaders insisting on a joint plea claim the recent decisions since Justice Ramana took over show the judiciary is no longer favouring the government as in the past and all political parties moving it together would inspire it to order a probe into the Pegasus racket.

Besides the petition of the two journalists, the two other petitions have been filed by John Brittas, a CPI(M) member of the Rajya Sabha, and Delhi lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma. Their petitions as also any others are to be clubbed together for the hearing the next week, though the Court has not yet fixed the Bench and the date for taking them up.

Another issue that plagues the opposition parties' meetings every day is that Pegasus controversy may impact the urban voters, but it may go against them in case of the rural voters who may get influenced by the television channels who have not been favourable to them in their daily coverage.

They are particularly concerned that Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are going to polls early next year and the rural voters count there. Ideas were floated in their meetings to focus beyond Pegasus by highlighting the issues of the agitating farmers against three controversial farm laws and the price rise, particularly in case of petrol and diesel. The consensus has, however, not emerged on how to go about.



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