Entry of Whatsapp into the legal world

Gone are the days when judicial proceedings will wait for you to be at home so that service of summons can be completed. In the world of connectivity if you are found evasive or absent from your available address then the judicial team can serve you summons on your virtual address ie. your whatsapp no. or email id. Hearing the case of TATA SONS LTD & ORS V. JOHN DOE(S) & ORS , Delhi High Court allowed the petitioners to serve summons via whatsapp and  Bombay High court also accepted served intimation via whatsapp as service of notice.

Riding the liberal route, Justice Gautam Patel observed , “It cannot be that our rules and procedure are either so ancient or so rigid that without some antiquated formal service mode through a bailiff or even by beat of drum or pattaki, a party cannot be said to have been properly served. The purpose of service is put the other party to notice and to give him a copy of the papers. The mode is surely irrelevant. Defendants who avoid and evade service by regular modes cannot be permitted to take advantage of that evasion.”

Along with 200 million whatsapp users in India, legal world has also become techno-friendly. Apart from expecting some best wishes and funny jokes from dear ones, one can also expect court notice on whatsapp. That reminds me of one more whatsapp connection with legal world ie. admissibility of whatsapp messages as a legal evidence under section 65(B) of Indian Evidence Act. So, while defending or establishing your case in court of law, you can submit a whatsapp message as evidence provided it conforms following requirements:

  • The message is not hearsay and it was received by you.
  • The phone or system has not been tampered with and has been in regular use.
  • The message was sent by the person alleged to have sent it.
  • The sender intended to send it.

Thereby, your whatsapp message will be subject to all the tests as documents otherwise admissible are subjected to. It goes without any doubt that whatsapp has emerged out to be a king of all other social networking platforms. So, one shall not underestimate its power. It can either make the case or break it. Whatsapp controversy also covered group administrator in its range. As technology is making rapid strides and increasing its bandwidth per second, law in this field is still vague and require some time to cover the grey area. That’s why circulation of offensive content in a whatsapp group can make admin liable in absence of immediate actions.

Indeed 21st century is an era of whatsapp and it has marked its entry in the legal world. With its increasing involvement in day to day life, its legal connection is irrevocable. One cannot guess about the future surprises that technology has reserved for us. So, time has come that this technology be utilised by people of land in proper way in order to evade the slap of law of land.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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DEEPIKA SANGWAN

Deepika Sangwan is a second-year student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali. She is an Editor at college magazine ‘AILITE 2016-2017’. She believes that writing gives clarity & depth to one’s thoughts. Apart from decorating facts with reasoning, cycling is her favourite pass time.

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