The court had in March allowed the woman to serve summons on her estranged husband via WhatsApp
A Delhi court, which had allowed a woman to serve summons on her estranged husband in Australia in a case of domestic violence and maintenance via WhatsApp noted that “double tick” on WhatsApp showed that the summons have been delivered.
“Perusal of copy of documents which are filed on record reveals “Double Tick” on the printout of the Whatsapp messages, which prima facie shows that the copy of the summons has been delivered on the mobile number of the respondent no.1 (estranged husband),” Metropolitan Magistrate (Mahila court) Surabhi Sharma Vats said.
However, despite the service being complete, the respondent did not appear before the court.
MM Vats had in March allowed the woman to serve summons on her estranged husband via WhatsApp, text messages and e-mail after her counsel Debopriya Pal and Kunal Kumar told the court that two previous attempts to serve summons on him failed.
In compliance with the court’s directions, the woman petitioner also submitted an affidavit in the court undertaking that the mobile number and the e-mail address on which summons have been sent belong to her estranged husband only.
The court also took note of the submission of the petitioner that she had challenged the July 15, 2017 order of the court in the related matter in which only her husband was summoned and in that appeal, he and his relatives had appeared before the court.
At this, the court noted that the respondent is “very well aware about his summoning in the present matter”.
In March, Pal and Kumar had suggested to the magistrate that the summons be served via WhatsApp etc., since service could not be effected for the past eight months and the summons were being returned as the man was not staying at the last known address in Delhi.
Advocate Kumar also shared that it takes over two weeks for summons to be served on anyone outside India and the Ministry had raised objections when the summons was sent for the man in Australia as he has changed his address there and therefore, they were left with no option but to request the court to allow service through WhatsApp, SMS and e-mail.
In this case, the man had left for Australia in year 2015 for pursuing further studies leaving behind the complainant, a homemaker, and their minor daughter, who was two years old then. The complainant continued to stay in their rented accommodation in Noida but soon joined her parents in Delhi after the husband stopped paying rent for the house.
After a few months, he severed all contacts with the complainant and never reciprocated to her attempts to contact him.
The complainant learnt through sources that he had visited India late last year but did not make any attempts to meet her or their daughter.
The woman then filed a case of domestic violence and also sought maintenance for their daughter and herself.
When the summons was sent from the court to the husband’s permanent address in East Delhi, the same was returned with the remark that no one related to the man stays at the address. It was then learnt that the property has been sold off.