SC allowed service of notices/summons/ document via WhatsApp, Telegram in addition to e-mail

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Re: Cognizance for Extension of Limitation [Suo Moto W.P. (C) No. 3/2020 dated on July 10, 2020] w.r.t. I.A. No. 48461/2020 observed that service of notices, summons and exchange of pleadings/documents, is a requirement of virtually every legal proceeding and that the service of notices, summons and pleadings etc. have not been possible during the period of lockdown because this involves visits to post offices, courier companies or physical delivery of notices, summons and pleadings.

The Court therefore, considered it appropriate to direct that such services may be effected by e-mail, FAX, commonly used instant messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal etc. However, if such services are made by means of said instant messaging services, then in addition thereto, the service of the same document/documents must be made via e-mail on the same date.

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2 Comments

  1. Gaurav Vinod Jethwa says:

    I understand that this ruling is restricted only to current lockdown situation and will no longer be valid once the lockdown is completely lifted. Please correct me, if anyone has a different view.

    1. Ramesh659524 says:

      SUPREME COURT ALLOWS SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND LEGAL NOTICES VIA WHATSAPP, EMAIL AND FAX
      This order marks as a huge step towards digitisation of Indian legal proceedings, where notices and summons used to be sent either by mail or delivered in person.

      In the recent times, courts have allowed service of LegalNotices by #Email. In a more recent development that happened , the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India enlarged the scope of #digital service of notices and #summons by stating that notices and summons could now be served on parties through Email, #Fax and instant messaging application such as #WhatsApp.

      The Order was passed by Bench of the Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde along with two other Judges. The Attorney General, who was present in the matter, voiced his concerns about the Government Departments not being comfortable with service of summons and notices through Whatsapp because as per him “it was a completely encrypted platform”. However, the Bench did not accept the Attorney General’s stand and stated that service would be deemed to be completed if there was a double “blue tick” against the message which would indicate the message has been duly read.

      Now that notices and summons can be served through the digital media which currently includes messaging applications it brings in its wake speedy implementation of court process where summons are concerned. Hitherto, service of summons by physical means stretched the service of summons to several hearings as the receiving party always found ways to refuse the summons mostly by paying off the postman. This new move prevents unnecessary delays in the process of law. Though this new means of service of summons and notices maybe a result of #COVID-19, it is no doubt an excellent way to reduce timelines in litigation. It is hoped that this new development will come to stay.

      The Chief Justice of India, stated as follows:

      “If the two blue ticks are there then it can be proved under Evidence Act…so Whatsapp can be used (for summons)”.

      To allay these concerns, the apex court also allowed the use of Email or Fax to serve the summons and left it for the case to case consideration if notices have been properly served or not.

      The CJI led bench was hearing a suo moto case on the extension of limitation in cases due to lockdown and passed these orders in view of lockdown related constraints where travel to post offices, courts and banks is not always possible.

      The Supreme Court also extended time for filing matters by extending the period by 45 days in matters pertaining to the Debt Recovery Tribunal and under Commercial Courts Act. However, it refrain from extending the limitation period in cheque bouncing matters and held that validity of cheque was the subject matter of Reserve Bank India and as such the Court did not want to intervene.

      I hope that this has been clarified by Hon’ble court earlier also. Service of Notices and Orders by way of any of the Electronic mode is valid now

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