SUPREME COURT ALLOWS USE OF INSTANT MESSAGING APPS, E-MAIL, FAX FOR SERVICE OF NOTICES, SUMMONS
We are well aware of the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic at various levels.
The pandemic has brought the global economy on a standstill. The number of cases are soaring each day and the condition is worsening quite rapidly.
However, besides the healthcare professionals, the judicial system is also functioning as an active Corona Warrior in these testing times. Many cases in various courts are being heard through an online mode which is truly serving the cause of the judicial system.
In order to combat the COVID-19 induced halt at various levels, the Supreme Court of India in one of its recent ruling on July 10, 2020, has allowed the parties to receive the notices, summons and other legal documents through instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, telegram, etc.
Moreover, the receiving of such documents will also be valid through email or fax.
The serving of such documents through physical means imposes a great health concern and there is also a risk of non-delivery all the documents as the full normalcy seems far from reality at present due to this pandemic.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice R Subhash Reddy, Justice A S Bopanna has passed this ruling which observed that receiving of notices, summons and other related documents via physical means will only risk the life of the persons involved in the process.
Therefore, the same should be done through electronic means, which involves the use of instant messaging apps.
The ruling also states, “where such document shall be sent to the parties concerned on the number provided to blue ticks would confirm delivery of the same and it could not be denied later.”
The Attorney General of India made a request before the bench to grant permission to facilitate this service specifically through WhatsApp only. The request was declined by the bench which was of the view that when there are multiple options available, it shall not be feasible to rely on a single app only.
The honorable court also cited the example of the use of the word ‘Xerox’ and stated that the company name is being used to convey the meaning of ‘photostat’. "For services of notices and summons, pleadings, it has been seen that it was not possible during lockdown to visits postal offices.
We direct that such service (of notices and summons) may be done by email, fax, or through an instant messenger service," the bench said and refrained from using the name of 'WhatsApp' specifically in the order.
The ruling by the honorable Supreme Court of India is a clear indication of quick adaptation at various levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay in the delivery of justice in these testing times due to this pandemic will only defeat the purpose of the judicial system.
And this ruling by the honorable court will ensure that the delivery of justice does not get hampered due to the pandemic.
Edited By Minu Mishra
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