The days have gone when the plaintiff in a litigation in any court had to wait for the notice or summon to be delivered physically to the respondents. Today, with the help of technology, anyone can be sent a notice and can also prove that the notice has been delivered to the respondent. In a case between SBI Card and a credit card defaulter, the Bank tried to reach the defaulter physically but couldn’t succeed in it due to frequent residence changing habit of the defaulter. Bank did not have the exact address of the defaulter but had his mobile number.
The bank sent the legal notice to the defaulter using famous chatting app, WhatsApp, and it showed double blue ticks to confirm that the notice didn’t only get delivered but was also opened and read. People who do not know about WhatsApp’s this feature, let us brief you about it. If you have ticked the ‘Read Receipt’ option in your WhatsApp setting, whenever you read a message, the sender will get double blue ticks next to the message. This blue tick confirms that the recipient has read the message. If you happen to untick the ‘Read Receipt’ option, you too won’t be able to see a blue tick against your recipient even if they have read it and even though they have ticked the ‘Read Receipt’ option in their WhatsApp.
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Coming back to the case, the matter is between SBI Cards and Payment Services and Nalasopara resident, Rohidas Jadhav, who owes a credit card payment of around Rs. 1.17 lac to the bank. The amount due, as per a report by TOI, was Rs. 85,000 in 2010 which, following an arbitration proceedings, was asked to be repaid to the bank in 2011 along with interest of 8%. Jadhav failed to service the arbitration proceedings’ order and the bank filed an application in the Bombay High Court in 2015, seeking an award on Jadhav. The due amount had now become Rs. 1.17 Lac on Jadhav.
The bank since 2015 was, reportedly, trying to send him the legal notice but failed to do so due to the residence change. “(Jadhav) was served by an authorized officer by sending a pdf and a message to his mobile number as a WhatsApp message,” said Justice Gautam Patel who was hearing the matter in the HC. He also said, “For the purposes of service of notice I will accept this. I do so because the icon indicators clearly show that not only was the message and attachment delivered but that both were opened,”
As per the rule for the service of notice, it has to be sent in person or through registered post, but after the enactment of the Information Technology Act, electronic communication has been allowed in litigation by the courts in addition to the conventional method. After the news broke about such a legal accepted way of sending legal notices, it sure looks easier for people to send legal notice to their defaulters.