The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear the Pegasus case next on February 25 instead of February 23, PTI reported.

The court deferred the hearing after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted he would be busy with another case on the same day in another court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana was scheduled to hear the plea on the Pegasus issue after nearly three months on February 23.

During the last hearing, the court had ordered setting up a three-member technical committee to look into allegations that the Pegasus software was used for spying on journalists, politicians, businesspersons and several others.

The committee had submitted an interim report to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. It has sought more time to complete its investigation, NDTV reported citing sources.

Chief Justice NV Ramana accepted Mehta’s request to push the hearing to Friday and asked the Solicitor General to inform other parties in the case.

The Pegasus case

In July, several media organisations across the world had reported on the use of Pegasus, which has been developed by the NSO Group. In India, The Wire had reported that 161 Indians were spied on using Pegasus.

The NSO Group has said that the spyware can only be sold to “vetted governments”.

Opposition leaders in India had protested vociferously against allegations of illegal surveillance, and pleas were filed in the Supreme Court against the government.

The top court, in turn, had set up a panel to look into the allegations.

The government in August and September had fought off criticism following the media exposés, claiming the reports about Pegasus were “conspiracies”, and that it had been brought up to “derail India’s growth” and as revenge for India’s supposedly efficient handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

On January 28, an investigative report by The New York Times said that India bought Pegasus in 2017 as part of a $2-billion defence package. The military-grade spyware and a “missile system” were the “centrepieces” of the package, the report had claimed.