Service of summons via Whatsapp!
To ensure the attendance of the accused or witness in any criminal proceeding, section 68 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898 allows the service of summons written, signed and sealed by the Criminal Court. Additional rules prescribed in the CrPC need the service of summon to be completed when it is served physically to the concerned person. In case the person so summoned is not found, one duplicate copy of summon may be left with some adult male member of the family. Alternatively, summon can be affixed to a conspicuous part of the house or homestead in which the person summoned ordinarily resides. The Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) 1908 in its First Schedule sets out similar provisions for the service of summons to the defendant in the proceeding of any civil suit. However, it is mentionable that Rule 9 of Order V of the First Schedule to the CPC (as amended by The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act 2012) allows options of courier service, fax and electronic email communication in order to deliver or transmit summons for service to the proper court officer or the plaintiff.
While this is the legal position in Bangladesh regarding the service of summons in criminal and civil proceedings, the Indian Courts follow more or less identical rules in order to serve summons. At this backdrop, the Delhi High Court has recently allowed the use of Whatsapp, email and text message in judicial proceedings. To quote from Hindustan Times (Online news item of 5 May 2017) as the Court said “The plaintiffs are permitted to serve the defendant... by text message as well as through Whatsapp as well as by email and to file affidavit of the service.”
Based on an allegation of Tata Sons concerning cyber-defamation, the defendant was served with summons via Whatsapp, email and text message, after service of summons could not be completed at his available address.
Compiled by Law Desk (SOURCE: hindustantimes.com).