Supreme Court Clarifies ‘Unclaimed’ Notices Deemed Proper Service

Supreme Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: October 19, 2023 at 10:30 IST

The Supreme Court has recently ruled that when a notice is returned as ‘unclaimed,’ it should be considered served to the addressee and, therefore, be deemed proper service. The Court also emphasized that the term ‘refusal’ can be treated as synonymous with ‘unclaimed.’

In the specific case at hand, the notice sent to the respondent was returned with the remark ‘unclaimed.’ The Court’s registry had previously noted that when a notice is returned as ‘refusal,’ it constitutes complete and proper service. However, when returned as ‘unclaimed,’ it is seen as incomplete service.

The Supreme Court referred to previous decisions, such as K. Bhaskaran Vs. Sankaran Vaidhyan Balan and Another (1999) Ajeet Seeds Limited Vs. K. Gopala Krishnaiah (2014) to support its stance. According to these precedents, when a notice is sent to the correct address of the addressee, it should be considered served unless proven otherwise. Thus, when a notice is returned as ‘unclaimed,’ it is deemed to have been served and constitutes proper service.

This decision clarifies that notices marked ‘unclaimed’ should be treated as valid service, even if the recipient does not acknowledge receipt.

Case Title: Priyanka Kumari V. Shailendra Kumar

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