A Legal Notice is a formal written communication between parties in which the person/party addressing the notice informs the recipient of his intent to bring legal action against the recipient. It assists in making the recipient party aware of the sender’s grievances. It is interpreted as a warning to the receiver to comply with a specified condition if he does not wish to pursue the matter in court.
It is a very efficient and cost-effective method of resolving disputes without resorting to litigation but rather to negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Legal provisions related to a legal notice.
Section 80 of the 1908 Code of Civil Procedure provides for the service of a legal notice on the Government or public officer if one wishes to bring a legal action against any act alleged to have been committed by a public officer while performing any official duty for a period of two months. The notice’s goal is to provide the public officer with an opportunity to pay some form of compensation after reevaluating his legal position and resolving the matter without going to court.
The Supreme Court declared in Bihari Chowdhary v. State of Bihar that the purpose of the section is to further justice and protect the public interest by avoiding superfluous litigation.
Under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, if a cheque is dishonoured in any way, the person who dishonoured the cheque is required to send a legal notice to the person who issued the cheque. Within thirty days of the refusal date, it becomes mandatory to send a legal notice to the issuer in check. If the issuer does not get a refund within 15 days of the legal notice being delivered, the issuer may begin legal action within 30 days after the expiration of the 15-day period.
This provision also establishes criminal responsibility.
Legal actions against loan defaulters are commenced under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act) whenever a legal notification is delivered to the defaulter.
Essentials of legal notice or Format of a Legal Notice:
- Brief facts or statements related to the issue or the matter for which the party wants to file an action or want to initiate legal proceedings against the other party.
- What relief or settlement do they want from the other party.
- Summary of the facts with the communication made between the parties regarding the dispute or issue.
- The problem arising in front of the sender and the problem the sender is facing due to matter or issue and also what can the other party or court do to solve the matter.
- The party needs to mention in the legal notice how the other party can provide the relief or what the other party should do to solve the issue or matter either mutually or by court’s order.
When to send a Legal Notice?
The cases in which Legal Notice can be sent are:
- Consumer Complaints: Consumer complaints are made over defective items, services, or any advertisement that is incorrect or misleading to the public.
- Property Disputes: Property disputes account for a sizable portion of litigation in India. Land disputes are the most common type of case in Indian courts. 25% of all Supreme Court cases contain land issues, 30% of which entail acquisitions, while surveys indicate that 66 percent of all civil cases in India involve land or property conflicts.
The following are common property issues for which notices might be sent.
- Family division
- Delay by the builder in providing possession of the property
- Tenant eviction
- Complaints Against the Employer: Employees of an organisation have the authority to notify their employers about a variety of issues, including:
- Wrongful termination
- Sexual harassment
- Power abuse
- Non-Payment of Salary
- Complaints Against the Employee: Employers, like employees, have the authority to provide notice to employees regarding matters such as:
- Violation of any corporate policy
- Violation of the terms and conditions of the employment agreement
- Complaint of sexual harassment
- Personal Conflicts: Personal disputes can also be brought to the courts through the use of a legal notice. These disagreements between spouses include the following:
- Divorce o Child Custody
- Maintenance o Restitution of Conjugal Rights
- Breach of Prenuptial Agreement
- Cheque Bounce: When a cheque bounces, a notice can be sent to the cheque’s issuer. Legal action against the issuer of the cheque is permitted under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The notice may be required by statute or may be optional, but in either instance, the objective of a legal notice is to tell the receiver, particularly the addressee, accurately and plainly of the sender’s intention.
Not only must a clear transmission of notification occur, but there must also be clear confirmation that the notification was received by the addressee in order to discharge the sender’s liability.