Ker HC | Absence of salutation like M/s, Mr or Miss while drawing a cheque is immaterial for offence under S. 138 of NI Act; HC sets aside the acquittal, directs Trial Court to re-address the issue

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: Gopinath P., J., held that adding or omitting prefix like M/s, Mr And Mrs. while drawing the cheque is immaterial.

The appellant was the Managing Partner of a firm by name ‘Lakshmi Finance’, which was stated to be a partnership firm. An allegation was made with regard to commission of an offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act before the Trial Court, wherein the Trial Court had acquitted the respondent-accused on the sole ground that the subject cheque was drawn in favour of ‘Lakshmi Finance’ and not ‘M/s.Lakshmi Finance’, though it was seen from the partnership deed that the name of the firm was ‘M/s.Lakshmi Finance’.

 “The alphabets ‘M/s’ which is short form for ‘Messrs’ is normally a salutation intended to refer to a group of unincorporated persons, such as a partnership firm. The absence of such salutation while drawing the cheque by the respondent-accused cannot be a ground for the accused to be acquitted.”

The Bench explained, such a view is as good as saying that if the payee is not referred to in the cheque as ”Mr……..”, the accused had to be acquitted.

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, the judgment of the Trial Court acquitting the respondent-accused was set aside and the case was restored to the file of the Trial Court for disposal in accordance with law. [N. Raveendran v. Shajahan, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 3921, decided on 06-09-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

For the Appellant: Adv. P.V.Elias

For the Respondent: Adv. Renjith George, Public Prosecutor

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