Written By – Radhika
In the case of ICICI BANK LIMITED v. RASHMI SHARMA, the Delhi High Court has set aside an order passed by a Commercial Court to the extent of issuing a show cause notice of criminal contempt after a plaintiff had sent the photograph of summons to the defendant through WhatsApp.
Justice Amit Bansal was hearing a petition challenging a Commercial Court ruling in which notice was required to be issued to the petitioner, ICICI Bank Ltd., through the Chairman, as to why criminal contempt should not be launched against him for violating the Court’s process.
When the case was heard in December last year, the defendant claimed that he received a private notice of appearance via WhatsApp on November 30th, and that he had not received any notice or summons from the Court. The plaintiff, on the other hand, claimed that it had filed the process fee and that a photograph of the summons was also given to the defendant via WhatsApp.
As a result, the Commercial Court determined that the aforementioned act of sending summons via WhatsApp amounted to an overreach of the judicial system and that no party has the right to establish a parallel system in addition to the judicial processes.
In the view of this, Delhi high court said that there is nothing malafide in sending the photograph of the summons through WhatsApp as it was only sent as a secondary measure to ensure the presence of the defendant on the next date and it cannot be said that there was an attempt to overreach the judicial proceedings. The Court further stated that subordinate courts cannot exercise jurisdiction and issue show cause notices as to why contempt proceedings should not be commenced. As a result, the Court granted the petition and overturned the ruling to the extent of the show cause notice for beginning criminal contempt proceedings.