Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Ltd. v. KS Infraspace LLP Ltd.
The Supreme Court of India on Monday, January 06, 2020 in Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Ltd. v. KS Infraspace LLP Ltd. has held that the WhatsApp messages which are virtual verbal communications are matters of evidence with regard to their meaning and its contents to be proved during trial by evidence-in-chief and cross examination.
A bench of Justices comprising of Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha observed that the emails and WhatsApp messages will have to be read and understood cumulatively to decipher whether there was a concluded contract or not.
The High Court by its order dated 30.08.2019 affirmed the order of injunction holding that the communication of acceptance to the draft MoU sent by email dated 30.03.2018 coupled with the exchange of WhatsApp correspondences between the parties amounted to a concluded contract.
The negotiations were widespread over time both by WhatsApp messages and exchange of emails
“We have been addressed by the counsel for the parties at length, as also have been taken through the several WhatsApp messages and emails exchanged.”
- the bench said.
The negotiations between the plaintiff and the defendant is reflected in approximately 17 emails exchanged between them commencing from December 2017 to 31.03.2018. The file size of the attachment to the mails has varied from 485052485756 KBs indicating suggestions and corrections from time to time.
The use of the words ‘final draft’ in the email dated 30.03.2018 cannot be determinative by itself. The email dated 26.02.2018 sent by the defendant at 11:46 AM had also used the same phraseology.
Justice Navin Sinha who authored the Judgment opined that in the facts and circumstances of the present case, and the nature of the materials placed before us at this stage, whether there existed a concluded contract between the parties or not, is itself a matter for trial to be decided on basis of the evidence that may be led.