Pune family court allows summons through WhatsApp

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Updated: November 27, 2018 6:24 PM

The idea of using WhatsApp in judicial disposition is indeed a noble thought.

Arguably for the first time, a family court has adopted WhatsApp over traditional methods.

The popular and widely-used messaging app WhatsApp is all set to serve a noble purpose after becoming the all-time favourite of masses and being extensively used to share WhatsApp status, text and WhatsApp video messages. The distances have virtually vanished and it seems that one is only a message or a video call away, thanks to WhatsApp.

While users and businesses worldwide are exploring ways to increase their reach through mobile app of WhatsApp and desktop devices by WhatsApp web, the idea of using this platform in judicial disposition is indeed a noble thought.

Arguably for the first time, a family court has adopted the platform over the use of traditional methods. A Pune-based court has reportedly allowed the summons to be served to a banker, now in London, via WhatsApp after traditional methods of serving summons failed.

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A 30-year-old woman from Bavdhan has filed restitution of conjugal rights (RCR) case in the family court in Pune city. Prior to this, woman’s lawyers were struggling to issue the summons to the banker as he was not responding to their attempts to contact him via traditional methods, The Indian Express reported.

Her lawyer, Sudhir Reddy from Reddy & Reddy law firm, then filed an application to serve the summons via WhatsApp. The court of judge G G Bhalchandra allowed the application on November 22, Reddy told The Indian Express, adding the case also showed the judiciary’s openness to accept modern technologies for fast-tracking justice delivery.

According to the woman’s complaint, she had married London-based banker in 2015, who hails from Vadgaon Budruk. After a few days of marriage, her husband and in-laws allegedly began harassing her for not giving enough dowry and gifts as well as not spending enough on the marriage. Initially, the woman kept quiet to save the marriage and later moved to London to live with her husband. But her in-laws and husband allegedly harassed her mentally and physically, abused her and put out a demand of Rs 10 lakh to buy a car. Her husband even threatened to tear off her UK visa and Indian passport if she failed to fulfil the demands raised by the family. She also claimed that she was forced to return to India in August 2016 as she was unable to fulfil their demands while her husband allegedly seized her ornaments, expensive sarees along with the education certificates.

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After she returned back to India, she started living with her parents and lodged a harassment case and also for offences under the Protection of Women Domestic Violence Act against her in-laws and husband. She also filed an RCR petition in December 2017.

Narrating her ordeal, she told The Indian Express that her husband knew that she was not working and still he got her debit card blocked. He also stopped responding to calls when she decided to meet him and settle disputes. This year in January, when she went to London, she was asked to return to India by immigration officials as her husband had complained that he was not in a relationship with her wife.

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