Supreme Court on Friday, has directed that lawyers and litigants from now onwards can serve notices and summons either through emails, fax, telegram, or through instant messaging applications like Whatsapp in order to avoid delay in matters amid COVID-19 outbreak.
The SC bench comprising of CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice A S Bopanna, and Justice R Subhash Reddy stated, “It has been brought to our notice that it was not possible to visit post offices for services of notices, summons, pleadings. Such service of all the above may be done through email, fax, and other instant messenger services like WhatsApp and other telephone messenger services.”
The court further added, “Two blue ticks would convey that the receiver has seen the notice. When instant messenger service is used, care should be taken to email the records simultaneously.”
The decision came while the bench was hearing a petition filed seeking extension of the limitation period for filing appeals in High Courts and tribunals.
SA Bobde has pointed out that technology is the need of the hour and we have to accept the present situation with changing our mindset. Eventually, it must settle down to a system of new and old. There are cases that must have to be heard in the congregation.
“In future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be useful in deciding cases. If AI had been used, the Ayodhya case would have been decided without delay,” said the court.
Besides that, the court has refused to intervene in the matter of deciding the extension of the limitation period for filing of cheque dishonour cases under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The court has permitted Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to decide on extending the validity of cheque and said, “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 extending, then they can do it.”