Last month, The Supreme Court of India acknowledged that over half of the cases before it are delayed by the act of process serving. As a result the Supreme Court ruled as follows:
[i] In addition to normal mode of service, service of Notice(s) may be effected by E-Mail for which the advocate(s) on-record will, at the time of filing of petition/appeal, furnish to the filing counter a soft copy of the entire petition/appeal in PDF format;It is worth noting that the mode of service typically used that is causing the delays is service via the Postal Service, return receipt required. Without the proper safeguards and requirements service via email is arguably less reliable than service via postal service. Maybe if these notices were served by private process servers these delays would not exist...
[ii] The advocate(s) on-record shall also simultaneously submit E-Mail addresses of the respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s) to the filing counter of the Registry. This will be in addition to the hard copy of the petition/appeal;
[iii] If the Court issues notice, then, in that event alone, the Registry will send such an additional notice at the E-Mail addresses of the respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s) via E-Mail;
[iv] The Registry will also send Notice at the E-Mail address of the advocate(s) for respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s), who have filed caveat. Advocate(s) on-record filing caveat shall provide his/her E-Mail address for effecting service; and
[v] Within two weeks from today, Cabinet Secretariat shall also provide centralized E-Mail addresses of various Ministries/Departments/ Regulatory Authorities along with the names of the Nodal Officers, if already appointed, for the purposes of service.
Regardless this ruling is yet another example of technology having an impact on the practice and procedures associated with the act of giving notice to the parties/litigants to a case.
For a copy of the order click here.