Legal Notice Received And Opened On WhatsApp Is Now A Valid Evidence: Bombay HC
If you are trying to ignore any of your legal notices, then your WhatsApp blue tick can land you into trouble. Bombay High court in their recent ruling has said that legal notice or messages sent through WhatsApp messaging app are to be considered as legal evidence under the law, and the blue tick is a valid proof that the respondent has accepted the physical copies of the communication.
The court was hearing an application filed by the State Bank Of India and Payments Services Pvt Ltd against a Mumbai resident Rohit Jadhav, who was allegedly avoiding legal notice by the bank. The Bombay HC has considered his legal notice valid, as he was provided with a notice copy in the form of a PDF file on WhatsApp, which later received a blue tick.
The Bombay HC has observed that the defaulter not just only received the notice but also opened it and read the content, reports The Economic Times.
“For the purposes of service of the notice, I will accept this. I do so because the icon indicators clearly show that not only were the message and its attachment delivered to the respondent’s number but that both were opened,” said Justice Gautam Patel in his order.
The State Bank Of India had filed a case against Rohit Jadhav, a resident of Nalasopara, Mumbai, for recovery of credit card dues of Rs 1.7 lakhs. According to the Bank, Jadhav was not accepting any notice or communication from its legal authorities. After tracking Jadhav’s mobile number, SBI sent a notice copy on his WhatsApp number, which received a blue tick. The company kept the records of the messages.
In 2010, Jadhav had an SBI credit card due of rupees 85,000, after which he was ordered to pay back his dues with interest. When Rohit Jadhav failed to do so, the company approached the high court in 2015. The company claims that over the past two years, the bank had been trying to contact the defaulter, but failed as Jadhav kept shifting his residential address.
What the law says
Law states that notice can be served in person or through registered post. After the enactment of the I-T Act, which recognises electronic communication as evidence, courts have allowed legal notices through email, states Economic times.