A legal notice is nothing, but a written communication between the parties. It is a formal communication through which the sender notifies the recipient of the legal notice about his intention to take legal proceedings against the recipient. It also helps in making the recipient aware of the grievances of the sender. Legal notice is a last warning to the receiver that he can fulfill a specific condition if he does not want a court battle.
A legal notice is a tool that saves time and cost of litigation as it opens the options of mediation, negotiation, or arbitration to settle the matter between the parties. A legal notice is used in a variety of situation-
(a). In Consumer Forums– If a wrong product or a faulty service is provided to a customer, instead of directly filing a case against them, the customer can send a legal notice to the concerned company.
(b). In disputes related to property like partition, eviction, etc.
(c). Cases Related to Negotiable Instruments Act –The aggrieved party can send a legal notice to the defaulters in case of dishonor of cheque.
(d). Loan Defaulters– Under the SARAFAESI Act 2002, the proceedings for recovering the debt begin by sending a legal notice to the defaulters.
(e). Money Recovery Cases – Sending a legal notice to the concerned party is the first step in these cases.
(f). Employee and company– If the company deprives the working employees of their salary, the employee of their salary, the employee can send a legal notice to the company.
A legal notice is a type of formal communication in which the sender of the legal notice notifies the recipient about his very intention of undertaking legal action.
Contents of the Legal Notice
The aggrieved person can himself draft the legal notice but it is recommended to get the notice drafted by an experienced advocate. A well-drafted legal notice has the advocate’s contact details and addresses on the letter head.
For example – ‘A’ took goods on credit from ‘B’ on 20th March 2021 and said that he will pay for those goods after a month. Now if ‘A’ fails to pay the number of goods after the expiry of 1 month, ‘B’ can send a legal notice to ‘A’ for the recovery of money.
The Legal Notice must also contain the following Information:
Title of Legal Notice
The title must be informative and short, which will give a glimpse of the matter discussed in the notice. In the above example, the title of the legal notice can be :
“Notice for the recovery of money on account of credit sale of goods”
Matter and Facts
In this part, the cause of the notice is mentioned. Also, the intentional or the unintentional acts that have created a problem should be precisely stated. It should be noted that the important information of the matter should not be left out.For the above example, the body of notice will be like-
- That you bought some goods from my client on credit on 20th March 2021.
- That you promised to pay for the goods to my client within 1 month.
- That you failed to pay the amount till 20th April 2021.
The Demands and Requirements of the Sender
In this part, the demands of the sender are mentioned in the notice. The sender can either ask for monetary compensation or specific performance for the grievances and the mental harassment suffered due to the conduct of the receiver. In the above clause, the demand will look like this-
“I, therefore, through this Legal Notice call upon you, on behalf of my client to make the payment of Rs. 20,000/- with an interest of Rs. 5000/- in favor of my client, within 20 days from the date of receipt of this Legal Notice.
Result and Consequences
The result of not following the conditions of the Legal Notice is also mentioned. The consequences are also mentioned, as they will act as intimidation to take the necessary action in the given time.
Types of Legal Notice
Tenant Eviction Notice
In India, the Rent Control Act, 1948 comprises all the rights of tenants. A rent agreement is signed between the tenant and the landlord. Some rights protect a tenant against forced or unlawful eviction, but a landlord can file an eviction suit on certain grounds. A landlord has to send a legal notice before filing an eviction suit to the tenant. The following information would be there in the notice:
- The number of days given to the tenant to vacate the property.
- Date and time on which the property should be vacated.
- Reason for eviction.
Employee and Employer Company
The main reason for the exploitation of employees is that they are not aware of their rights. Wrongful termination, delayed salary, and non-payment of salary are the problems faced by the employees. The employee can send a legal notice to the company/ employer and claim the money.
Cheque Bounce Notice
A legal notice is filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act in case of dishonor of cheques. (d). Consumer Dispute – When deficient goods or services are provided to a customer, he/she can file a legal notice against the concerned party. The consumer can give a reasonable time, for instance, 20 days to rectify the product’s deficiency.
Apart from these, there are many more other types of legal notice.
Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908
It is only in civil cases that a legal notice is filed. However, in criminal cases, the government brings action against the criminal. Under section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908, it is mandatory to send a legal notice when filing a suit against a government or public officer.
Two things that Section – 80 deals with are:
(1). Who should be served with the Notice?
(2). What should the Notice contain?
Who should be served with the Notice?
(a) If a suit is filed against the railway, the notice shall be sent to the General Manager.
(b) A suit is filed against the State Government or Central Government, the notice shall be sent to the District Collector or Secretary to that government.
(c) If a suit is to be filed against a public officer, then the notice will be sent to him or left at his office.
(d) A time frame of two months is given to the government officials to resolve the issue and if they fail to do so, a legal proceeding can be taken against them.
What should the Notice contain?
The essential information that must be present in the legal notice is also stated in Section-80 of the Civil Procedure Code. It should include: –
- The name, designation, and address of the person who is sending the notice.
- The cause of action for filing the notice.
- The compensation or the relief claimed by the plaintiff.
What to do when you receive a Legal Notice?
Some things have to be kept in mind while replying to a legal notice: –
(1). Carefully Read The Legal Notice– The contents of the legal notice should be understood properly and if there is a scope of settling the issue amicably, one can settle that.
(2). Contact An Advocate – Approaching a good and experienced advocate is always advisable and he/she can take the matter ahead.
(3). Briefing The Advocate– Presenting your side of the story to the advocate would be the next step. All the important information related to the matter like date, time, facts and events should be explained to the advocate, so that, he can reply to that legal notice appropriately from your side.
(4). Sending The Reply – After drafting the reply of the legal notice, it is sent through a registered post or courier and the receipt of the post is kept. Also, a copy of the legal notice is kept for future reference.
A legal notice is really important as it gives the parties a chance to settle down the matter between them without involving or indulging in the legal proceeding. It, therefore, saves time and money for both the parties, and the decision is also made.
This article is authored by Sehaj Sarin, Student at The Law School, Jammu University.
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Keywords: Legal Notice| Communication |Proceedings| Draft