-Gunjan Chhabra

Partner, Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Steps to be Followed for Serving Summons under The Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial & Extra Judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, signed on the 15 November, 1965 (“Hague Convention”):

Procedure followed for Serving Documents including Summons in India

Under the Hague Convention, each signatory state needs to designate a Central Authority which receives the requests for service coming from abroad. India has designated, the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs as the Central Authority for this purpose.

The steps which need to be followed to serve process in India are as follows:-

  1. First, whenever the judicial officer in the Country of origin passes an Order for service to be done through the Hague Convention, a request in a format prescribed, bearing seal of the judicial officer has to be served to the Central Authority. This should be accompanied with the prescribed number of copies.
  2. The Ministry then goes on to serve the document itself or through an agency. Ordinarily this has been seen to be the court within the local jurisdiction of the particular individual. However, it can be done even by some other method requested by the applicant provided it is not incompatible with the Indian domestic law.
  3. All requests for service of documents should be in English or accompanied by an English Translation. However, applicants should keep in mind to follow the specific procedures of service in the origin country also. For instance US Courts follow due process, which means the service should also be done in a language understandable by the recipient.
  4. All necessary costs arising therefrom have to be paid to the Ministry.
  5. Upon completion of service by the Law Ministry, a certificate annexed to the Convention, would be forwarded to the Applicant which would state that the document has been served and would contain the method, the place and date of service and the person to whom the document was delivered.
  6. If the service would not be complete, then the certificate would set out the reasons which would have prevented service.

Procedure to be followed for serving documents outside India

A process similar to the Indian service would apply to service of documents including summons or other process which need to be served abroad. This would essentially depend on what is the Central Authority designated by the recipient country.

For more details on The Hague Convention for Service of Summons, please read related post: https://bit.ly/2Fp1qjV

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