HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN INDIA

Within this article, we will provide instructions on how to serve legal papers in India. After India’s accession on November 23, 2006, the Hague Convention went into effect on August 1, 2007, marking the first anniversary of its entry into India.

In the event that a foreign court or judicial body wishes to serve a summons on an Indian citizen or a company with an office in a foreign country that is also a party to the Hague Convention, the Hague Convention will apply. As a result of the Hague Convention, judicial and extrajudicial papers may be sent from one signatory nation to the other.

BACKGROUND

India Process Service prior to the Hague Convention was only possible through Letters of Request/Rogatory. It is a formal India Process Service letter issued to the foreign Court/Judge from the Court where the matter is ongoing, asking for the delivery of summons or other India Process Service-connected activities.

The Indian courts have yet to establish a precedent in relation to the nature of the Hague Convention’s duties and whether or not the India Process Service clauses therein are binding. But in Volkswagenwer Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk, the Supreme Court of the United States of America noted via Justice Brennan that the Convention’s provisions are ‘obligatory’ with regard to any transmission covered by it.

Under the agreement, each signatory state is obligated to select a Central Authority to accept the summons for India Process Service from the other contracting parties.  As a result, India has designated the Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Law and Justice as the India Process Service Central Authority under the convention.

STAGES OF how to SERVe LEGAL PAPERS IN INDIA

India Process Service must follow the stages outlined in the Convention. It is required that an official from the State of Origin, or a judicial officer who is competent under that state’s legislation, submit an India Process Service request to the Ministry of Law and Justice, together with the document to be served or a copy of the document to be served. There must be two copies of the request and India Process Service paperwork. Suppose a request is made in a prescribed format. In that case, the Ministry will either serve the India Process Service document itself or arrange for an appropriate agency to do so, either in accordance with its internal law or in accordance with the method requested by the applicant unless Indian domestic law prohibits it.

All requests for serving of India Process Service in India must also be made in English or be supported by an English translation. The Ministry of  Law is also required to send the summary of the material requested in the request together with the document itself.

Applicants would have to pay or compensate for the expense of hiring a judicial officer or someone competent under the law or the cost of using a certain form of service. As soon as the Ministry of Law completes its process, the Applicant will be sent a certificate appended to the Convention stating that the India Process Service document has been served, as well as information on how it was delivered to the recipient. If the India Process Service had not been completed, the certificate would have to mention why.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY

It is required that the State of origin’s responsible authority or a judicial official send an India Process Service request to the Central Authority of the relevant State in the approved format, together with the document to be served or a copy of the document to be served.

The India Process Service document and the request must be provided as a pair. If the request is properly formatted, the Central Authority will either serve the India Process Service document itself or arrange for it to be served by an appropriate agency, using either a method prescribed by its internal law or a method specifically requested by the applicant, unless this method is incompatible with the law of the State to which the request relates.

The Central Authority may require the India Process Service document to be prepared or translated into the official language of the State addressed. The Central Authority is also required to provide the summary of the material requested in the request together with the document itself.

A judicial officer or a person competent under the law would have to be hired or reimbursed by the Applicant for any expenditures incurred as a result of the usage of a specific service. A certificate appended to the Convention, stating that the India Process Service document has been served and identifying who received it, will be provided to the Applicant after the Central Authority has finished serving it.

It is required that an official from the State of Origin, or a judicial officer who is competent under that state’s legislation, submit the India Process Service request to the Ministry of Law and Justice, together with the document to be served, or a copy of the document to be served. The India Process Service and the request must be served as a whole. It is the Ministry’s duty under Indian domestic law, unless incompatible, to serve the document if it is submitted according to the necessary format or to arrange for it to be served by an appropriate agency in accordance with the Ministry’s internal legislation or the applicant’s specific request.

The applicant would have to pay or compensate for the expense of hiring a judicial officer or someone competent under the law or the cost of using a certain form of India Process Service.

When the Ministry of Law completes its India Process Service, the Applicant will get a certificate appended to the Convention that states the document has been served and includes the method, location, date, and the person to whom the document has been handed. In the case that the service was not completed, the certificate would explain why.

OUT-OF-COUNTRY SUMMONS SERVICE:

Under the Convention, summons outside India must be served in accordance with the methods outlined as such. A request in the required India Process Service format, with the document to be served or a copy of the document to be served, must be sent to the Central Authority of the relevant State by the authority or judicial official qualified under the legislation of the State of origin.

There must be a copy of the India Process Service request and the document served. If the request is properly formatted, the Central Authority will either serve the document itself or arrange for it to be served by an appropriate agency, using either a method prescribed by its internal law or a method specifically requested by the applicant, unless this method is incompatible with the law of the State to which the request relates.

The Central Authority may require the India Process Service document to be prepared or translated into the official language of the State addressed.

The Central Authority is also required to provide the summary of the material requested in the request together with the document itself. The applicant would have to pay or compensate for the expense of hiring a judicial officer or someone competent under the law or the cost of using a certain form of India Process Service. To prove India Process Service, the Central Authority will provide a certificate attached to the Convention, stating that the document has been served and providing information on how it was delivered, where it was sent, and who received it.

Any issues that arose as a result of the incomplete India Process Service would be documented in the certificate of India.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SERVICE IS NOT DONE

There would be a statement in the certificate explaining why the India Process Service was not completed. Under the provisions of the present Convention, if a writ of summons or an equivalent document has to be sent abroad for service and the defendant has not appeared, the judge has the power to release the defendant from the consequences of the expiration of the time for appeal, etc. If the defendant learns of the judgment, they have only a limited amount of time to submit a motion for relief. 

When an application is made beyond the given deadline but not less than one year from the date of the decision, India Process Service will not be accepted by the contracting state. This rule applies to all states that have signed the treaty. According to India Process Service law, an application for relief will not be granted if it is made after the one year has expired.

Under the Hague Convention, the service of court papers in India is not authorized directly via the State of Origin’s diplomatic or consular officers unless the document is to be served on a person of that state.

WHEN THE HAGUE CONVENTION IS NOT APPLICABLE

It is also important to note that India opposes all ways of service under Article 10, including direct postal routes, via court officers, officials, or other qualified Indians or through State of Origin or those involved in the Judicial proceedings. This means that under the Convention, only the Ministry of Law will be able to provide India Process Service. While an American court has acknowledged service of summons in India through Facebook and e-mail as not protected by Article 10 of the Hague Convention, India has not objected to this method of serving the summons.

New York’s court summons was privately given to the petitioner in Anupama Sharma v. Union of India, a case that was ongoing before the New York Court. Private delivery of summons was not in compliance with Articles 3 and 5; the petitioner said since it was not given by a US court but by a private courier. Furthermore, the Petitioner said that India has vehemently resisted Article 10 of the Convention, which authorizes India Process Service of summons or court papers through postal routes directly to those who reside outside India. Nevertheless, the Bombay High Court noted that it would be impossible for it to halt the service of summons while exercising its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner can take the said objection to the New York Court. If her contention is correct, the New York Court may ask the respondent to serve the summons again, in accordance with the provisions laid out in Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention.

Furthermore, the government has the right to decline to comply with the request for assistance if doing so would violate its sovereignty or security. If the Hague Convention is abolished, it will no longer be applicable.

Each Contracting State may declare that the Judge may render judgment even if no certificate of service or delivery from the Central Authority has been received, provided that all of the following requirements are met.  Even though every reasonable attempt has been taken to get a certificate of any type from the appropriate authorities of the State addressed, no certificate has been obtained.

Each signatory state is obliged under the convention to select a Central Authority to take on the responsibility of receiving India Process Service requests from the other contracting countries. As a result, India has designated the Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Law and Justice as the Central Authority under the convention.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents will be received by our receptionist.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands | New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland| Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue, 4 Fl East, Washington DC 20037

for assistance serving legal papers in India

Simply pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.

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Sources

1. Anupama Sharma v. Union of India W.P.(L) No.119 of 2014

2. When the recipient’s location is unknown, There is no civil or commercial lawsuit; the document to be served is not judicial or extrajudicial; there is no cause to be served.

3. U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri

New Delhi – 110021

India

Telephone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000

Fax: +(91) (11) 2419-0017

acsnd@state.gov

The U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, serves American citizens in the Indian

states of  Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,

Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, and the country of

Bhutan.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Mumbai (Bombay)

C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex

Bandra East, Mumbai 400051

India

Telephone: +(91) (22) 2672-4000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) (22) 2672-4000 If you

are calling from within India, but outside Mumbai, first, dial 022.

Fax: 91-(0)22-2672-4786

mumbaiacs@state.gov

The Consulate General in Mumbai provides consular services for the

states of Goa, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, and the union territory of Diu and Daman, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

U.S. Consulate General Kolkata (Calcutta)

5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani

4. Judges have the authority to provide relief from the effects of the expiration of the time for appeal from a judgment if a defendant who has not been in court is not aware of the summons or equivalent document in time to defend or k does not know of its existence in sufficient time. If the defendant learns of the judgment, he or she has only a limited amount of time to submit a motion for relief.

When an application is made beyond the given deadline but not less than one year from the date of the decision, it will not be accepted by the contracting state. This rule applies to all states that have signed the treaty. An application for relief will not be accepted if it is filed in accordance with this clause in the country.

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