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The Supreme Court on Friday decided to use technology more in judicial proceedings keeping in mind the prevailing COVID-19 situation and directed that now court summons and notices can be served on persons through "emails, fax and instant messaging applications" like 'WhatsApp'. The top court had earlier taken suo motu (on its own) cognizance of the difficulties faced by lawyers and litigants during lockdown due to COVID-19 and had decided to extend the period of limitation prescribed under laws for initiating arbitral proceedings and the cheque bounce cases with effect from March 15 till further orders.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna passed the order on the plea filed by Attorney General K K Venugopal in the case.
"For services of notices and summons, pleadings it has been seen that it was not possible during lockdown to visits postal offices...we direct that such service (of notices and summons) may be done by email, fax, or through an instant messenger service," the bench said and refrained from using the name of 'WhatsApp' in the order.
It referred to the example of 'Xerox' and said that the name of the company has been used to convey the meaning of 'photostate'.
The top court allayed the apprehension of Venugopal that he was "not comfortable" with the service of summons and notices through WhatsApp as it has been a "completely encrypted platform".
It said that the "blue tick" feature of the messaging application can be used to prove the service of the court's notices under the Evidence Act and if the application is deactivated then it cannot be proven and hence such services can be used.

From India, Mumbai
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