Supreme Court allows email, fax, instant messaging apps like ‘WhatsApp’ for service of notices, summons

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The Supreme Court on Friday determined to make use of know-how extra in judicial proceedings holding in thoughts the prevailing COVID-19 state of affairs and directed that now courtroom summons and notices will be served on individuals via “emails, fax and instant messaging applications” like ‘WhatsApp’. The prime courtroom had earlier taken suo motu (by itself) cognizance of the difficulties confronted by legal professionals and litigants throughout lockdown because of COVID-19 and had determined to increase the interval of limitation prescribed below legal guidelines for initiating arbitral proceedings and the cheque bounce circumstances with impact from March 15 until additional orders.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna handed the order on the plea filed by Attorney General Okay Okay Venugopal within the case.

“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 stated and avoided utilizing the title of ‘WhatsApp’ within the order.

It referred to the instance of ‘Xerox’ and stated that the title of the corporate has been used to convey the which means of ‘photostate’.

The prime courtroom allayed the apprehension of Venugopal that he was “not comfortable” with the service of summons and notices via WhatsApp because it has been a “completely encrypted platform”.

It stated that the “blue tick” function of the messaging software can be utilized to show the service of the courtroom’s notices below the Evidence Act and if the appliance is deactivated then it can’t be confirmed and therefore such providers can be utilized.

On the extension of limitation interval for submitting of cheque dishonor circumstances below part 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act , the apex courtroom Friday stated that it’ll not intervene into this and the time interval will be prolonged by the RBI solely.

“Under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, we don’t consider it appropriate to interfere in the deadline prescribed by RBI. If RBI considers to extend, then they can do it.”

The apex courtroom then allowed the modification plea and stated the 12 months-time interval below the legislation to finish arbitral proceedings be allowed to stay in power.

The bench then handled a provision associated to the functioning of Commercial Courts and stated that the limitation interval fastened for mediation will likely be prolonged by 45 days after lifting of the lockdown.

The apex courtroom took word of the submission of senior advocate Shyam Divan that the lifting of lockdown was a obscure time period and even after its lifting, sure areas are nonetheless declared containment zones having the sooner issues.

The apex courtroom stated that it was a worthwhile suggestion and it could like to take care of the time period “lifting of lockdown”.

Earlier, it had prolonged the interval of limitation prescribed below legal guidelines for initiating arbitral proceedings and the cheque bounce circumstances with impact from March 15 until additional orders.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 present fastened time durations to litigants to provoke arbitral proceedings and cheque dishonour circumstances. They change into time-barred if filed after the statutory durations.

Prior to this, the highest courtroom on March 23 had invoked its plenary powers below Article 142 of the Constitution to increase limitation interval of appeals from excessive courts or tribunals on account of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

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