India: Summons now also via WhatsApp

September 12, 2018

In the modern age, technology makes information available just at the click of a button. All major services are readily in the electronic media. The increasing digitalization has not left the judicial system untouched. Various forms of judicial activities such as filing of petitions, applications, intellectual properties, availability of judgements and orders are now being increasingly made in the online mode.


Summons are the instruments which may be issued by the Court to a party to appear and answer the claim and may be served in a manner prescribed on the given date of the proceeding. [Section 27 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908].

WhatsApp sent Summons

The summons may be delivered to a party in such manner as the Court may direct. [Order V Rule 9 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908]. The said provision includes transmission of summons through electronic media as well.

Case laws

  • Tata Sons Limited & Ors vs John Doe(s) & Ors[1] – In the said case, Delhi High Court, permitted affidavit of service through text message, Whatsapp or by email.
  • Kross Television India Pvt Ltd & Another Versus Vikhyat Chitra Production & Others[2] – For the said matter the Bombay High Court considered the copies of the plaint, Notice of Motion to be served and received via WhatsApp after the same was responded to by the Defendant.
  • SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt Ltd Versus Rohidas Jadhav[3] – It was held that banks could send legal notices to the defaulters.

In the news…

HDFC Bank has served 214 court summons through WhatsApp and email in the last two months, majority of them pertained to cheque bounce cases. These were served through courts in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and others.[4]

Blue ticks put red light on evasion of liability escape

Since the blue ticks are indicative of the fact that the documents served via WhatsApp have been read impose a responsibility on such recipient to act accordingly so as to prevent any adverse action against him/ her.

[1]CS(COMM) 1601/2016

[2]SUIT (L) NO. 162 OF 2017

[3]Execution Application No. 1196 OF 2015


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