Supreme Court allows service of summons by WhatsApp, email and fax

Now summons can be sent through WhatsApp

Supreme Court allows service of summons by WhatsApp, email and fax

In a first, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the service of summons and notices, a necessity in almost all legal proceedings, through instant messenger like WhatsApp as well as by email and fax.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde observed that it has been brought to the notice of the court that it is not feasible to visit post offices for service of notices, summons, and pleadings. The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and R. Subhash Reddy observed that notice and summons should be sent through email on the same day along with instant message through WhatsApp and other phone messenger services.

The bench clarified that all methods should be deployed for a valid service on the party. "Two blue ticks would convey that the receiver has seen the notice," noted the bench.

The bench declined the request of the attorney-general for specifically naming WhatsApp as a mode of effectuating service. The top court noted that it would not be practical to specify only WhatsApp.

The apex court also permitted RBI to extend the validity of cheques in the backdrop of lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Senior advocate V. Giri representing RBI informed the bench that he had circulated the note regarding validity of a cheque as directions issued on the previous hearing.

The bench noted that it will be in discretion of the RBI to issue orders which are suitable to alter the validity of the period of a cheque.

During an earlier hearing on the matter on July 7, the attorney-general contended before the top court that the Centre had some reservations in connection with the utilisation of mobile applications like WhatsApp and other apps for service of summons. The Centre's top law officer informed the apex court that these apps claimed to be encrypted, and they were not trustworthy.

The RBI counsel had contended before the top court that it was considering clarifying the validity of a cheque which has been reduced to 3 months from 6 months.

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