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What Happens If Someone Refuses An Attorney Notice?

Introduction:

Every organisation, institution and human is governed by some law or other. Whenever there are disputes between any two or more parties they go to the court of law to settle it. It is dependent upon the disappointed party to turn to the mediation of official courtrooms.

In order to get remedy, the displeased party has to file a petition in a court of law and issue an attorney or legal notice to the other party before the matter is finalized in the court.

What is meant by Attorney notice?

Legal notice or attorney notice is a document or intimation sent to an entity or individual you wish to take to court. Without legal notice, no legal action can be taken. It is the only process which legalises bringing a matter to court.

A legal notice is, therefore, is a formal communication or letter served to a personal entity or individual or organisation, informing other parties of your intention to undertake legal proceedings against them. It is a way of informing individuals or organisations with the relevant facts and statutes about a matter by using a method required by a court of law.

What things an Attorney notice contains?

A legitimate notification served to a respondent, must contain the real factors and objections made in the request. This is to illuminate the litigant about what he is being blamed for, and he (the respondent) is offered a sensible period to response; advising the court whether he consents to or can’t help contradicting the realities expressed therein.

Attorney or Legal notice is served under Sec.27 of General Clauses Act,18971. In case M/s Darbar Exports and Ors. Vs. Bank of India, 2003 (2) SCC (NI) 132 (Delhi) the court held that a presumption of service of notice is to be drawn where the notice is sent through registered post as well as UPC on correct address.2

Why Attorney notice is important to file?

These days, courts are overburdened with cases. As a result of this these days, a suit is a final retreat for any individual who needs to have a risk answer for his concern. A formal legitimate continuing is a moderate and exorbitant procedure. This is the reason before documenting a suit, one ought to consistently record a lawful notification. It is important for the plaintiff to file a legal notice because:

  1. Through an attorney notice, the appellant can convey his grievances to the respondent in an explanatory manner.

  2. The one who receives the notice can save himself from legal proceedings by addressing those grievances.

  3. The issue between the parties can be settled outside the court without getting into the hectic process of litigation.

  4. The legal notice gives an opportunity to the parties to settle their disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms.

What happens if someone refuses an attorney notice?

Attorney or Legal notice issued under Section 160 of The Code of Criminal Procedure,19733 or Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Section 804 or Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act,18815 or Sec. 28A of Consumer Protection Act 19866 is refused and nothing happens for it as per law. The main objective of the notice is to inform you which is done irrespective of you accept it or reject it. As legal notice is served, the sending party can file a case against you and can go ahead.

But there is some harm if you refuse a legal notice. Refusal of a notice can be used against you in courts of law and you can be asked to state why you refused it and also judge can infer that complaints and accusations made in notice are true. In some situations and under some laws an adverse inference can be drawn against you and also in some cases a presumption of service can be drawn against you.

Like in case Mr.K.K. Dharman vs Ministry of External Affairs on 19th December 2011 Public Information Officer said the information could not be provided as it was exempted under sec. 8 (1) (j). Also, the PIO concluded that due to non-reply of notices sent under sec. 11 (1) to Mr Udayakumar, it could be presumed that he is not willing to disclose the details.7

Other than this, if you do not respond to a defamation notice, the only consequence you’re likely to suffer is a defamation case being filed against you in Court. Once the suit of defamation is filed in the Court, you will receive a summons from court to appear before the court and answer the charge pressed by the opposite party.

Why one should respond to legal notice?

Yes, it is advisable to respond to Attorney or Legal notice in all cases irrespective of the nature of the case, a civil case or a criminal case. Replying to notice after understanding its term clearly is beneficial for the defendant as at this stage he/she(defendant) can deny the allegations put against you. It may clear your side of the matter or dispute.

If you do not reply in Civil cases, it is more than likely that a default judgment i.e. judge will hear other side and make a judgement with you in absentia which can be against you.

In a criminal case, it is more than likely that you will be pursued and detained until the matter is adjudicated.

Not responding to an attorney notice gives an upper hand to the plaintiff/appellant so defendant should always respond to the Attorney notice.

Case Laws in which the defendant refused the legal notice and actions were taken against it.

• Parimal v. Veena, (2011) 3 SCC 5458– In this case the respondent-wife refused to accept the legal notice and then the court ordered issuance of fresh notice.

• Archana Singh vs Surendra Bahadur Singh, 20029– In this case the respondent has avoided appearing before the court. The postal remarks show that he refused to accept the notice which was sought to be served upon him. So the court proceeded to dispose of this matter on the basis of service of notice by refusal.

• Mst. Bhabia Devi v/s Permanand Pd. Yadav, 199710– In this case the respondent had filed a suit for specific performance on the foot of an agreement alleged to have been executed by the petitioner. The petitioner was served notice but she did not contest the suit, ex parte decree was granted.

• Oza Kumbhar Naran Ala vs Meta Nanalal Jethabhai And Ors.,198611– In this case, the lower court held that the defendant had refused to accept the notice by registered post and, therefore, it was deemed by the court that the notice has been served.

References:

1 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1428703/

4 https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=sec.+80+cpc

7 https://indiankanoon.org/docfragment/48792457/?formInput=non-reply%20to%20notice

10 https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5609ad21e4b0149711410a67

11 https://indiankanoon.org/docfragment/1264265/?big=0&formInput=deemed%20service

This article is authored by Madhur Bansal, First-Year, B.A. LL.B, student at ILS Law College, Pune.

Also Read – Why Do Advocates Bow in Court Room?

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