The Supreme Court on Tuesday took exception to parallel debates on social media and websites by some petitioners, who have filed pleas seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter, and said they should observe discipline.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said the apex court is not against debates but when the matter in pending in court, it should be deliberated upon here.

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that he needed some time to take instructions from the government on the issue raised in the petitions.

The bench, also comprising justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, posted the matter for hearing on August 16.

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Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for senior journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar who have filed one of the petitions in the matter, said Ram was trolled on social media after the last hearing on the issue of court proceedings related to Pegasus in California.

The bench said, “This is what we are saying. We ask questions from parties. We take both parties to task. The matter should be deliberated here and it should not be debated on social media and websites. Parties should have faith in the system.” The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas, including the one filed by the Editors Guild of India, seeking an independent probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping matter.

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The pleas are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers were on the list of potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware.

During the hearing in the matter on August 5, the top court had said that allegations of Pegasus related snooping are “serious in nature” if reports on them are correct.