Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: Sanjay Karol, CJ allowed the compounding of offence in a case where the accused had been convicted for an offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The conviction recorded by the trial court was also affirmed by the Sessions Judge in appeal. Now, the convict along with the complainant prayed before the High Court for compounding of the said offence.

Keeping in view the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Damodar S. Prabhu v. Sayed Babalal H., (2010) 5 SCC 663 and Meters and Instruments (P) Ltd. v. Kanchan Mehta, (2018) 1 SCC 560, the High Court allowed the petition for compounding of the offence. Consequently, the convict was held to be not liable to undergo imprisonment in terms of the trial court’s decision. However, he was directed to deposit an amount equal to 15% of the cheque amount with the Tripura Legal Sevices Authority within a period of 4 weeks. [Rakhal Sen v. Ganesh Debnath, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 119, Order dated 02-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Asha Arora, J., allowed a criminal revision petition filed against the order of conviction and sentence awarded to the petitioners for the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque).

To cut the matter short, the present was a cheque bounce matter. The complainants had filed under Section 138 against the petitioners alleging that Alok Bhagat (Petitioner 2), who was the authorised signatory of Adeptics, a partnership firm, issued a cheque for Rs 1.5 lakhs for receiving goods from complainant’s factory. However, when presented to the bank, the said cheque got dishonoured with the endorsement–payment stopped by the drawer. A demand notice was sent but the petitioners failed to make payment. The matter went to trial and the petitioners were convicted and sentenced. In the appeal, their conviction was maintained but the sentence was modified. Aggrieved still, the petitioners filed the present revision petition.

The petitioners were represented by Ayan Bhattacharya, Ozair Elahi and Sharequl Haque, Advocates. It was pointed out that the cheque was issued by the firm and signed by Mr Bhagat as an authorised signatory. It was argued that to fasten liability upon the partners/directors of a firm/company, impleading it as an accused is imperative. Per contra, Kajal Mukherjee, Surajit Basu and Bikash Chakraborty, Advocates appearing for the complainant opposed the present petition.

The High Court noted that the cheque does not show that it was issued by Mr Bhagat in his personal capacity. It was signed on behalf of the firm as authorised signatory. After discussing Sections 7 and 138 along with Aneeta Hada v. Godfather Travels and tours (P) Ltd., (2012) 5 SCC 661, the High Court observed, “Curiously enough, though the cheque clearly shows that it was issued on behalf of Adeptees, no notice of demand was served on the said firm and the complaint was filed only against the petitioners without the mandatory requirement of impleading the company/firm as one of the accused.” Complainants argued that no such plea was taken before the trial court or the lower appellate court. However, relying on Ajit Balse v. Ranga Karkare, (2015) 15 SCC 748, the High Court rejected the argument. Resultantly, the revision petition was allowed and the impugned judgments were set aside. [N.K.Bhagat v. Biswanath Dey, 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 326, dated 11-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sunil Gaur, J. held that the trial court did not commit any error while summoning the petitioners in relation to a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque).

Petitioners were independent directors of the accused company. MIC Electronics Ltd. They challenged the complaint filed under Section 138 and the consequent summoning order against them the ground that they were not in charge of the day-to-day business of MIC Electronics.

Vikas Gupta and Vipin Kalra, Advocates representing the petitioners submitted that they cannot be summoned in the complaints in question. Per contra, Satinder Singh Mathur, Advocate for the complainant submitted that there was an allegation that petitioners responsible for the day-to-day functioning of MIC Electronics.

The High Court referred to Standard Chartered Bank v. State of Maharashtra, (2016) 6 SCC 62 wherein the Supreme Court had permitted summoning of directors of the accused company. In the present case, since there were allegations against the petitioners as mentioned above, therefore the Court found no case to quash the complaint and summoning order. The petitions were disposed of by giving liberty to the petitioners to appear through their attorneys and counsels. [Somendra Khosla v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6585, Order dated 09-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Rajbir Sehrawat, J., challenging the order passed by JMFC, Amritsar where the application filed by the petitioner for ordering the sample of voice of complainant for comparing it with the recording produced by the petitioner was rejected.

Facts of the case were that petitioner took a loan from respondent and while returning the loan amount to respondent the cheque was dishonoured and as a result proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act were initiated. Petitioner had presented CD and pen drive showing the recordings of their conversation. Respondent contended that the information contained in the recordings were completely unauthentic.

High Court was of the view that petitioner had failed to disclose the place and instrument through which the recordings were made. Thus, trial court had rightly dismissed the application filed by the petitioner since the information as contained in the pen drive and CD itself has been found to be unauthentic by the trial court. Therefore, there was no question of the trial court directing the respondent to give his voice samples for comparison. [Jatinder Pal Singh v. Krishan Kishore Bajaj, CRM-M-37435 of 2018 (O&M), decided on 29-10-2018]