Legality of Serving a Summons by Unconventional Means, by Swrang Varma

A discussion of the problems the common Indian man faces in his quest for access to justice focuses on the shortage of judges and the resultant mounting caseload as an explanation for the inordinate delay faced in years of litigation. While that is obviously true, the administration of justice as a whole is broken and one can witness the continuous adjournments of time in the lack of the collaboration between and focus by, the executive and judiciary, on finding a way to modernize one such fundamental reason for repeated adjournments during a trial i.e. improper service of summons/notice. As the author shows, our procedural laws struggle to keep up with the situations where the Code is silent and courts have to step in to fashion a procedural remedy in the interests of speedy disposal of justice. The author then takes a brief comparative view of the gradual acceptance and evolution of the integration of electronic methods of service by courts in foreign jurisdictions. Finally, the author undertakes an analysis of the governmental measures in India to enhance the technological capability of courts to streamline the justice administration process and the various safeguards that courts and laws have laid down to ensure that principles of natural justice are observed while delivering summonses on parties. As the author notes, in allowing service by these non-traditional modes, courts have to recognize that service is critical and mode-agnostic, however the service should be meaningful in that it gives proper and reasonable notice.