The Bombay High Court has recently accepted service of notice in an execution application through WhatsApp messenger after finding that notice served in the form of a PDF file was not only delivered, but the attachment was opened as well.
Justice GS Patel was hearing an execution application wherein the respondent Rohit Jadhav was evading service of notice under Order XXI Rule 22 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908. He was served notice by an authorized officer of the claimant, SBI Cards and Payments Services Pvt Ltd, by sending a PDF and message to his mobile number on WhatsApp.
“For the purposes of service of Notice under Order XXI Rule 22, I will accept this. I do so because the icon indicators clearly show that not only was the message and its attachment delivered to the Respondent’s number but that both were opened,” Justice Patel said.
The claimants had filed the execution application against Mumbai resident Rohit Jadhav who was evading all their calls and efforts by legal representatives to reach out to him. After tracing Jadhav’s number, a notice was sent to him informing him about the next date of hearing.
Justice Patel had earlier set a precedent in April 2017, in the case of Kross Television India Pvt. Ltd. v. Vikhyat Chitra Production (2017) in which he held that – “Indian Judiciary system is flexible enough to consider a notice issued through ‘WhatsApp’ or through email admissible in the court of law. It is not necessary for the plaintiff to go through extreme measures like that of a bailiff or through the ‘beat of a drum’ for the notice to be considered as properly served. The defendants were duly notified in the eyes of the court.”