Virtuality is the new Reality as WhatsApp and Skype become tools of Law

By Hemant Batra | Policy & Business Lawyer | Kaden Boriss | Goeman Bind HTO

Virtuality is a notion or perhaps a theory propagated by a French thinker Gilles Deleuze. This virtual is a variety of something beyond perception which could actually translate into the definitive. It is not physical or tangible in that sense, but it is still real and existent.

This principle got a flag off, a nod and approval of legitimacy by an Indian court of law. By a short and crispy judgment passed by an unpretentious High Court – The High Court Of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, the virtual apps available on smartphones got a judicial sanction in a way.

In May 2018, the said High Court in a matter titled Sucha Singh versus Ajmer Singh and another, passed a technologically superior judgment whereby they recognized the virtual mediums of WhatsApp and Skype as a means of recording evidence in a court case.

The High Court passed this judgment in a set of two revision petitions wherein the order given by the Civil Judge of one of the District Courts of the State of Punjab was challenged. The Civil Judge had declined the requests for extension of time for recording statement of the petitioner Sucha Singh, a US resident, through Video Conferencing and had only allowed recording of the evidence in the office of any appropriate public authority.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that as the evidence of Sucha Singh is very material, it ought to be recorded and keeping in view that “he is living in the USA. Since there is 12 hours difference of time, therefore, when it is a day time in India, there is night time in USA. Therefore, there will be a difficulty in approaching the Public Authority at night time to allow Video Conferencing facility. The Video Conferencing is now available at Computer, and the Mobile and so many applications are available like Facetime, Whatsapp, Skype and other similar applications.”

Sucha Singh was permitted to adduce evidence by way of Video Conferencing through Mobile or any other Computer application. The High Court directed the Civil Court to install the app of Video Conferencing on the Computer, Laptop or IPad, as chosen by the Witness Party.

The above judgment passed by Judge Kuldip Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is an eye opener for many other Courts and Judges to break the shackles of age-old concepts.