SC decodes if WhatsApp message can be used as evidence in court
New Delhi, July 15: Can a WhatsApp message be used as evidence in court? The Supreme Court said that the messages exchanged on WhatsApp have no evidential value and the author of such messages cannot be tied to them especially in business partnerships governed by agreements.
"What is evidential value of WhatsApp messages these days? Anything can be created and deleted on social media these days. We don't attach any value to the WhatsApp messages," a Bench comprising Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said.
The matter pertains to a December 2 2016 agreement for collection and transportation of waste materials between South Delhi Municipal Corporation and a consortium comprising A2Z Infraservices and another entity.
In 2017, A2Z entered into another agreement with Quippo Infrastructure for carrying out a part of the contracted work and it was agreed that the sum received by A2Z would be deposited in an escrow account from which the payment would be made to the parties.
In 2020, A2Z terminated the contract following which Quippo moved the Calcutta High Court. Quippo told the HC about a WhatsApp message about the payment of rs 8.18 crore due to Quippo. A2Z however said that the message was forged and fabricated. However the company was asked to deposit the money.
"Prima facie we are not satisfied with the HC direction for depositing the money in an escrow account. We are not considering the purported admission in WhatsApp message. If it is not late, then go before the arbitrator and parties would be bound by the arbitrators award," the Supreme Court said.
However Quippo insisted on its stand, following which the Bench asked the counsel to to file a reply to the petition filed by A2Z.