The Supreme Court said, “What is the evidence value of WhatsApp messages nowadays? Anything can be created and deleted on social media nowadays. We don’t give any importance to WhatsApp messages.”
Supreme Court (file photo)
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that messages exchanged on social media platform WhatsApp have no explicit value and the author of such WhatsApp messages cannot be linked to them, especially through business partnerships. in the agreements made under. The Supreme Court feels that ‘popularity is not a measure of credibility’.
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Rishikesh Roy said, “What is the evidence value of WhatsApp messages nowadays? Anything can be created and deleted on social media nowadays. We do not give any importance to WhatsApp messages. Actually the issue pertains to the concession agreement between South Delhi Municipal Corporation and A2Z Infraservices and a consortium for collection and transport of waste materials on December 2, 2016.
Know here what is the whole matter
On April 28, 2017, A2Z entered into another agreement with Quippo Infrastructure (now Viom Infra Ventures) to complete a portion of the contracted work and it was agreed that all funds received by A2Z would be deposited in an escrow account, from which the payment will be made. On 28 May last year, A2Z terminated the contract agreement and Quippo moved the Calcutta HC on 14 September for the appointment of an arbitration panel on certain issues related to the contract agreement with A2Z. The parties agreed to an arbitration on January 14 of this year.
WhatsApp message was told to be fake and fabricated
The Single Justice Bench of Calcutta HC was told by Quippo’s counsel about a WhatsApp message dated March 19, 2020 in which A2Z allegedly accepted a payment of Rs 8.18 crore due to Quippo. Quippo also showed an email from the year 2018 in which A2Z had agreed to deposit all funds received from SDMC into an escrow account. A2Z told the HC that the WhatsApp message was fake and fabricated. But, the HC directed A2Z to “deposit all future funds received by them from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation in an escrow account in respect of the work covered by the master service agreement.”
Appearing for A2Z before the SC on Wednesday, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar said that though the settlement was struck down and the dispute was referred for arbitration, it was inconceivable that the HC would escrow all receipts from the SDMC. Why was the order given to deposit in the account? “I will not be able to pay the workers engaged in the collection and transportation of solid waste management in Delhi. Why should HC believe a WhatsApp message when we have termed it as fake and fabricated.”
Ritin Rai, Senior Advocate for Quippo, said the escrow account was created on the basis of an agreement for equitable distribution of funds between the parties. However, the SC bench headed by CJI Ramana said that once the matter has been referred for arbitration, why should the party terminating the settlement deposit the amount receivable in the escrow account? The bench said, “Prima facie we are not satisfied with the direction of the HC to deposit the money in the escrow account. We are not considering the alleged entry into WhatsApp messages. If it is not too late, go to the arbitrator and the parties will be bound by the decision of the arbitrators.” However, with Rai standing by his stand, the bench issued notice and asked Rai’s client to file a reply to the petition by A2Z.
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