Delhi High Court: In a criminal miscellaneous petition under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (Cr.P.C.), the single judge bench of Anup Jairam Bhambhani issued a notice to the State while considering the applicability of Section 219 CrPC in cheque bounce cases under the provision of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (‘NI Act’).
In the matter at hand, the petitioner impugned the order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate wherein the respondent 2/complainant’s application was dismissed under Section 219 read with Section 322 Cr.P.C. The petitioner was facing proceedings for the offence under Section 138 of the NI Act filed by the complainant.
The petitioner contended that respondent 2 had combined the alleged offences relating to return of 30 different cheques in the same complaint, which was impermissible under Section 219 Cr.P.C.
It was further contended that since the cheques ranged from as little as Rs. 1894/- to as much as Rs. 5 lacs, the combining of the allegations of dishonour of all 30 cheques in one and the same complaint, makes it impossible for the petitioner to seek compounding of the offences under section 320 Cr.P.C.
The petitioner submitted that the 30 cheques in question were issued towards refund of separate deposits made by respondent 2 and the cheques bore different dates, except they were dishonoured on the same date and a common notice under section 138 NI Act was issued for all 30 cheques.
It was alleged that each alleged ‘dishonour’ comprised of a separate offence and even if committed on the same date (i.e., within the same year), not more than 03 such offences can be tried by way of a single complaint in view of section 219 Cr.P.C.
The Court considers the prima facie view of the matter and accordingly issued notice to the State NCT Delhi who was directed to file written submission within 6 weeks from the date pf the order.
Matter adjourned for hearing on 27-07-2023.
[Gaurav Mittal v State NCT Delhi, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1528, decided on 06-03-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the petitioner- Advocate Madhav Khurana, Advocate Kartikeya Dang, Advocate Varun Dev Mishra and Advocate Mrinmoi Chatterjee;
For the respondent- Additional Public Prosecutor Satinder Singh Bawa.