The development comes amidst the debate over the bane and negative impact of Whatsapp, and is aimed at expediting the intricate legal process. Such instance is rare in the history of the country as well as city's judiciary.
In an unprecedented development, a Delhi judge has directed that the court’s order in a case of domestic violence be sent to the husband and his relatives via WhatsApp. The development comes amidst the debate over the bane and negative impact of the social messaging application, and is aimed at expediting the intricate legal process. Such instance is rare in the history of the country as well as city’s judiciary.
Pronouncing its verdict, Metropolitan Magistrate (Mahila Court) stopped the husband of the complainant and his relatives from taking custody of his daughter forcibly and asked the complainant to send the copy of the order to all respondents through Whatsapp.
The woman, in her complaint, had alleged that she was subjected to torture, harassment and cruelty at the hands of his husband and his relatives after her marriage in 2006. The complaint further says that the woman, whose husband used to stay abroad, had to undergo severe trauma due to the behaviour of her sister-in-law and mother-in-law over dowry claims.
The use of WhatsApp as a method of communicating an official court order comes at a time when the Centre is taking measures to check the fake news menace. Last month, the central government had sent a notice to WhatsApp asking it to come out with effective solutions to curb the menace of fake news beyond just labelling forwards. It had also warned the company that mediums used for propagation of rumours are liable to be treated as ‘abettors’ and can face legal consequences if they remain “mute spectators”.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been under fire from the Indian government over the fake news and false information being circulated on its messaging platform. Such messages have incited mob-fury, triggering multiple cases of lynching across the country. The government had in the past too issued a stern warning to the company to clamp down on hoax messages designed to “provoke” and “instigate” people.
“When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain, mute spectators, they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action,” the IT Ministry said in a statement.