Bathinda police start sending court summons on WhatsApp to cops appearing as witness | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Bathinda police start sending court summons on WhatsApp to cops appearing as witness

In a successful trial for six days from June 1, 61 personnel were sent the summons through WhatsApp and 41 appeared in the courts. The earlier procedure entails a visit by the summoning staff, though that option has been kept open in case WhatsApp is not available.

punjab Updated: Jun 07, 2017 09:25 IST
 HT Correspondent

In a first-in-Punjab initiative, to save time and effort, the Bathinda police department is sending court summons through web-based messaging service WhatsApp to its personnel’s mobile phones for them to appear as witnesses.

In a successful trial for six days from June 1, 61 personnel were sent the summons through WhatsApp and 41 appeared in the courts. The earlier procedure entails a visit by the summoning staff, though that option has been kept open in case WhatsApp is not available.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Naveen Singla said the consent of the district and sessions judge was taken for the WhatsApp system, and the summoning staff have been given latest computers with an internet connection, an operator, a colour printer, and the WhatsApp numbers of 2,500 cops deployed in the district.

Blue matters

Here’s how it gets legal sanctity. WhatsApp has a single tick mark next to the respective chat window when the message has been sent; another to show it has been delivered; and the marks turn blue to show the message has been read. A coloured printout of a screenshot with the blue tick marks is submitted along with a report in the court. A confirmation call is made too.

But the blue-tick feature can be turned off. On that, the SSP said, “We have verbally told the officers not to switch that off. More such issues will be ironed out gradually.” There is also the incentive of a commendation certificate if the WhatsApp summons are honoured.

“In the next phase, we will cover the personnel posted out of the district.”