Notice served via WhatsApp is valid: HC

In a significant order, the Bombay high court has said that serving a legal notice through WhatsApp is valid. The HC said a SBI credit card defaulter who was evading the bank had not only received the notice, but had also opened it and read its contents. The bank claimed it was unable to serve the notice on the defaulter for two years as he had changed his place of residence. His phone number was, however, available with it. As per rules, notice is served in person or through registered post. In some cases, courts have also allowed use of email.

Rules state that a notice is served in person or through registered post. Following the enactment of the Information Technology Act, which recognises electronic communication as evidence, courts have allowed parties in a litigation to serve notice through email in addition to traditional methods. Earlier this year, a Delhi metropolitan magistrate had allowed a woman to serve summons in a domestic violence case on her estranged husband in Australia via WhatsApp.

The court had said that the “double tick” on WhatsApp showed that the summons had been delivered.

Last year, in a copyright infringement case, the high court bench of Justice Patel had taken on record a notice sent to a Kannada film producer through WhatsApp and email.

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