A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy mentioned, “What’s evidential worth of WhatsApp messages lately? Something may be created and deleted on social media lately. We don’t connect any worth to the WhatsApp messages.”
The difficulty associated to a December 2, 2016 Concession Settlement between South Delhi Municipal Company and a consortium comprising A2Z Infraservices and one other entity for assortment and transportation of waste supplies. On April 28, 2017, A2Z entered into one other settlement with Quippo Infrastructure (now Viom Infra ventures) for finishing up part of the contracted work and it was agreed that each one monies acquired by A2Z can be deposited in an escrow account from which funds can be made to events.
On Could 28 final yr, A2Z terminated the contract settlement and Quippo moved the Calcutta HC on September 14 for appointment of an arbitration panel on sure points regarding the contract settlement with A2Z. The events agreed for an arbitrator on January 14 this yr.
A single choose bench of the Calcutta HC was advised by Quippo counsel a couple of WhatsApp message of March 19, 2020 through which A2Z purportedly admitted fee of Rs 8.18 crore resulting from Quippo. Quippo additionally confirmed an e mail of yr 2018 through which A2Z had agreed to deposit all cash acquired from SDMC in an escrow account.
A2Z advised HC that the WhatsApp message was solid and fabricated. However, the HC directed A2Z to “deposit all the cash acquired by them in future from South Delhi Municipal Company in reference to the work lined by the Grasp Service Settlement within the escrow account topic to additional course on this behalf by the arbitral tribunal or the arbitral award which may be handed”.
Showing for A2Z earlier than the SC on Wednesday, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar mentioned although the settlement was terminated and the dispute stood referred to arbitration, it was incomprehensible why the HC ordered all receivables from SDMC be deposited within the escrow account. “I will be unable to pay staff engaged within the assortment and transportation of stable waste administration in Delhi. Why ought to the HC imagine a WhatsApp message when we’ve got disputed it as solid and fabricated.”
For Quippo, senior advocate Ritin Rai mentioned that the escrow account was created on the premise of an settlement for equitable distribution of the cash between the events. Nonetheless, the SC bench led by CJI Ramana mentioned that after the matter has been referred to arbitration, why ought to a celebration which terminated the settlement deposit the receivables in an escrow account?
“Prima facie we’re not happy with the HC course for depositing the cash in an escrow account. We aren’t contemplating the purported admission in WhatsApp message. If it isn’t late, then go earlier than the arbitrator and events can be sure by the arbitrators award,” the bench mentioned. Nonetheless, with Rai persisting on his stand, the bench issued discover and requested Rai’s consumer to file a reply to the petition by A2Z.