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Supreme Court allows email, fax, instant messaging apps like ‘WhatsApp’ for service of notices, summons

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday determined to make use of know-how extra in judicial proceedings preserving in thoughts the prevailing COVID-19 scenario and directed that now court docket summons and notices may be served on individuals by means of “emails, fax and instant messaging applications” like ‘WhatsApp’. The highest court docket had earlier taken suo motu (by itself) cognizance of the difficulties confronted by legal professionals and litigants throughout lockdown because of COVID-19 and had determined to increase the interval of limitation prescribed underneath legal guidelines for initiating arbitral proceedings and the cheque bounce instances with impact from March 15 until additional orders.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna handed the order on the plea filed by Lawyer Normal Okay Okay Venugopal within the case.

“For services of notices and summons, pleadings it has been seen that it was not possible during lockdown to visits postal offices…we direct that such service (of notices and summons) may be done by email, fax, or through an instant messenger service,” the bench mentioned and avoided utilizing the identify of ‘WhatsApp’ within the order.

It referred to the instance of ‘Xerox‘ and mentioned that the identify of the corporate has been used to convey the that means of ‘photostate’.

The highest court docket allayed the apprehension of Venugopal that he was “not comfortable” with the service of summons and notices by means of WhatsApp because it has been a “completely encrypted platform”.

It mentioned that the “blue tick” characteristic of the messaging software can be utilized to show the service of the court docket’s notices underneath the Proof Act and if the applying is deactivated then it can’t be confirmed and therefore such providers can be utilized.

On the extension of limitation interval for submitting of cheque dishonor instances underneath part 138 of the Negotiable Devices Act , the apex court Friday mentioned that it’s going to not intervene into this and the time interval may be prolonged by the RBI solely.

“Under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, we don’t consider it appropriate to interfere in the deadline prescribed by RBI. If RBI considers to extend, then they can do it.”

The apex court docket then allowed the modification plea and mentioned the 12 months-time interval underneath the regulation to finish arbitral proceedings be allowed to stay in drive.

The bench then handled a provision associated to the functioning of Commercial Courts and mentioned that the limitation interval mounted for mediation will probably be prolonged by 45 days after lifting of the lockdown.

The apex court docket took word of the submission of senior advocate Shyam Divan that the lifting of lockdown was a obscure time period and even after its lifting, sure areas are nonetheless declared containment zones having the sooner issues.

The apex court docket mentioned that it was a invaluable suggestion and it might like to cope with the time period “lifting of lockdown”.

Earlier, it had prolonged the interval of limitation prescribed underneath legal guidelines for initiating arbitral proceedings and the cheque bounce instances with impact from March 15 until additional orders.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Negotiable Devices Act, 1881 present mounted time intervals to litigants to provoke arbitral proceedings and cheque dishonour instances. They develop into time-barred if filed after the statutory intervals.

Previous to this, the highest court docket on March 23 had invoked its plenary powers underneath Article 142 of the Structure to increase limitation interval of appeals from excessive courts or tribunals on account of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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