Taking note of the difficulties for physical service of summons on account of lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court has allowed the service of notices, summons and pleadings etc via e-mail, FAX, telemessenger services such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal etc.
The party who is effecting service via instant messaging services must also effect service of the same documents by e-mail, simultaneously on the same date.
The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and AS Bopanna, allowing interlocutory applications in the suo moto case regarding extension of limitation period.
The bench ordered :
"Service of notices, summons and pleadings etc. have not been possible during the period of lockdown because this involves visits to post offices, courier companies or physical delivery of notices, summons and pleadings. We, therefore, consider it appropriate to direct that such services of all the above may be effected by e-mail, FAX, commonly used instant messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal etc. However, if a party intends to effect service by means of said instant messaging services, we direct that in addition thereto, the party must also effect service of the same document/documents by e-mail, simultaneously on the same date".
During the hearing on July 10, the CJI observed "It has been brought to our notice that it was not possible to visit post offices for services of notices, summons, pleadings. Such service of all the above may be done through email, fax and other instant messenger services like Whatsapp and other telephone messenger services".
Also directed in the same order :