Received Legal Notice in PDF Via Whatsapp? This Is Admissible in Court As Per Bombay HC!

The recent verdict by Bombay High Court states that Whatsapp messages can be treated as valid legal summons.

Whatsapp messages can be treated as legal notice!
Whatsapp messages can be treated as legal notice!

You receive thousands of Whatsapp messages in a day – some are jokes, some are inspirational quotes and some are legal notices.

The issue of Whatsapp messages as a legal entity has been a debatable issue since long – IT Act of Indian constitution is ambiguous on this issue, and we need some clarification.

However, a recent ruling by Bombay High Court has set the picture straight, atleast as of now, because from now on, legal notice sent via PDF in Whatsapp messenger would be a legal document, admissible in the Court.

Interestingly, the blue tick notification also has a legal backing now. Read more to find out how!

The Case In Bombay High Court

SBI Cards and Payment Services had sent a legal notice to one Rohidas Jadhav from Mumbai, related with outstanding dues of Rs 1.17 lakh.

Now, Rohidas claimed that the messages received via Whatsapp is not valid legal message, hence cannot be used against him.

SBI claimed that the messages had blue tick mark, which means that the person not only saw the message, but also read it.

The Verdict

Justice Gautam Patel in his verdict stated that SBI was correct in their assessment – the blue tick mark indeed validated the claim that the defaulter Rohidas had indeed received the message, and downloaded it, which means that the message was read as well.

In his verdict, Judge said, “For the purposes of service of notice I will accept this. I do so because the icon indicators clearly show that not only was the message and attachment delivered but that both were opened.”

Legality Of Whatsapp Messages?

As per the rules, a summon or a legal notice has to be sent via registered post or delivered in person.

After the new rules of IT Act came into force, legal notices sent via emails were also made valid. However, there is no such law related with Whatsapp messages.

However, when it comes to treating Whatsapp messages as evidence, the Judiciary is pretty clear: It cannot be treated as a legal evidence in the Court.

Last year, in a case related with suicide of Arunachal chief minister Kalikho Pul, the Delhi High Court had observed that Whatsapp messages cannot be treated as evidence.

Now, the latest verdict by Bombay High Court regarding the legality of Whatsapp messages as in notice and summon has made the issue slightly complicated; especially in the absence of any law.

Do you think Whatsapp’s blue tick mark should have a legal backing? Do let us know by commenting right here!

Related: Whatsapp Group Admin Cannot Be Held Responsible For Defamatory Content: Delhi High Court


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