Notice served through WhatsApp to a defaulter is valid
If a borrower has defaulted in repayment of loan or credit card and is avoiding service of notice by frequently changing his residence, notice can be served to him through WhatsApp and that will be a valid service. This has been ruled by Bombay High Court.
One Rohidas Jadhav, had accrued credit card dues of Rs 85,000 in the year 2010 to SBi Card and Payment Services. Following arbitration proceedings, Jadhav was to pay the amount along with 8% interest, which stood at 1.17 lacs in 2015.
The borrower kept on shifting his rented residence, SBI Cards had failed to serve the litigation notice to him over the years. However, borrower’s phone number was available with SBI Cards. So, the representative of the bank sent a message via WhatsApp informing Jadhav about the next date of hearing. The lawyer’s notice was also sent to Jadhav in a PDF. Advocate Murlidhar Kale, counsel for SBI Cards, informed the court that the blue ticks on the message showed that Jadhav had not only received the message, but also read its contents.
As per the current rules, a notice is served in person or through a registered post. However, “after the enactment of the IT Act, which recognises electronic communication as evidence, courts have allowed parties in a litigation to serve notice through email, in addition to traditional methods,” says the TOI report.
Justice Gautam Patel observed that Jadhav was served a notice by an authorised officer of the bank who sent a PDF and message to his mobile number as a WhatsApp message. “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,” Justice Patel said.