New Delhi, May 18, 2017: Entangled in a family dispute, a man has served notice to his daughter-in-law, her parents and her friend on WhatsApp. And once he saw ‘blue double tick’ on the chat — indicating that his message had been read — the man took a colour printout of the screenshot, and submitted it to court as proof of the notice being served. This was accepted by Senior Civil Judge cum Rent Controller (North) Sidharth Mathur in Rohini court.
On May 4, the Delhi High Court had allowed use of WhatsApp and email in judicial proceedings. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw had allowed the plaintiff to serve summons on one of the defendants through WhatsApp, text or email. “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,” the High Court said.
On May 6, a resident of Model Town filed an appeal in the civil court, requesting them to immediately restrain his son and daughter-in-law, her parents and her friend from “trespassing into the suit property”. The court asked him to send a notice to all five persons, but he responded that it will take time and there is strong possibility that they will barge into his home before the notice can be served.
The court, however, informed him that he can serve notice to these people via WhatsApp. He proceeded to do so — and once he saw ‘blue double tick’ on the chat, he took a colour printout.
In its order the court noted that he served the notice to his son, who lives in Janakpuri, by hand. On May 8, he submitted all the colour printout copies of notices to the court. “These defendants, thus, certainly have acquired knowledge of the summons and the hearing today,” the court said.
In his order, Mathur stated: “I have gone through the record. The conveyance deed… of the suit property is in the name of plaintiff which makes him the exclusive owner… The defendants are restrained from trespassing into the suit property without due process of law till the next date of hearing. Though the defendants No. 1 to 4 have been served via WhatsApp, but still I deem it appropriate that they be served once again. Accordingly, issue fresh summons to the defendants No. 1 to 4 on filing PF/RC returnable for 24.05.2017.”
The court noted that that the plaintiff’s son got married on December 13, 2015 and started staying with his wife on the first floor of the residence in Gujranwala Town, Part 1. Later, differences arose between the couple and the two families.
The plaintiff’s daughter-in-law, according to the order, first left her in-laws’ home in July 2016, but returned two months later. She then left home on February 13 this year but returned again. On May 1, “a huge scene” unfolded at the plaintiff’s home and “unwarranted threats” were given to his family. She allegedly assaulted her husband, and later the plaintiff filed a police complaint. A counter-complaint was also filed by her. The plaintiff later asked his son to leave his home, the order noted.