This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing to the dismissal order by the Honorable High Court against the appellant under the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 with regard to the dishonour of the cheque.
The appellant filing the appeal with this court is known to be a government company formed under the Companies Act, and the respondent here is the company, and other respondents are the director of the company. By the understanding between the two companies, both the appellant and respondent entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on 1/06/1994 but due to some changes mutually agreed by the parties made some alterations on the date 19/09/1994. Pursuant to such MoU, a party issued two cheques of Rs. 20,26,995/- and 22,10,156/- and on 31/10/1994 and 10/11/1994 respectively by the respondent company in favour of the appellant. As the cheque was deposited with the bank for the relievable, both the cheques were returned by the bank with a message that withdrawals have been stopped by the drawer.
Due to error or fault with regards to the payment the appellant herein had sent two notices to the respondent company, failing to respond further resulted in a complaint being lodged by the appellant by the manager of the regional branch of the bank in Chennai. The respondent, in response to the complaint launched by the appellant, filed two petitions quashing the complaint. Also additional to the complaints, it was stated that the respondent has also issued four other cheques to the appellant which were also dishonoured, by the impugned order and the complaints was quashed. The appellants have filed four more complaints against the respondent under the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881. The respondent again filed for the discharge of the matter against them and at the time of presenting the appeals the same reason was given by the respondent as mentioned earlier in the two petitions for such discharge. The magistrate accepted claims and decided to discharge the respondent. The High Court restored the complaints and directed the Magistrate to entertain the matter.
1. Should the matter be allowed to sustain in the court of law?
2. Is there any provision in the law that allows for the discharge of the matter?
The Honourable Supreme Court hearing the arguments made and submitted by the learned counsels representing both the parties and the facts mentioned in the above matter with the precedents set by the Honourable Judges and all other documents that have been submitted to support the pleadings and prayer, place the observation such as that the court can clearly see that in the matter above the identical claims has been made in order to quash the complainant made stating that bill manifested here or presented has no substance as to incur or accrues any debt or liability therefore there remains no complaint to entertain by the court. The court finds no reason for the complaint with regards to the provision of the law to be allowed sustain, there is a provision and section 142 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 read with section 138 any person that is termed as payee or for any reason is in the capacity of such person defined under the Act can file/lodge a complaint in due course of the cheque, and in the above matter, it is clear that the appellant herein is the payee under such provisions.
It is clearly established that any person can set the criminal law in motion if such person has suffered any damages due to act of any party in the transaction, it is always a matter if cognizance for the Magistrate to try the matter even if the complaint filed by any complainant is not capable or competent to file such complainant. If any complaint has been filed under a special provision or any special Act which states the eligibility criteria for the complainant for filing a complaint only then such complaint if not satisfy the condition can result in the discharge of complaint, but in this case, the section 142 of the Act applies whereby the eligibility state that any person who is payee or holder of the bill can file the complaint that has been satisfied in this case. The learned judge, in this case, has stated that the cheques were issued as security and not for any debt or any liability.
Further it states that there is no need for any stringent application of the laws and conditions regarding discharging criminal complaint with circumspection. The court also states that there no need for an enquiry at this stage of the train for checking the genuineness or credibility of the complaint filed. The court also finds that there is no need for the complainant to file a complainant specifically alleging subsisting liability. It is having also been held out that the condition pertaining to the violation of the provision under the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 considering the nonpayment of the bill has been satisfied in the matter herein. The Court decides that such cheque or bill made towards the other party in full or part consideration concluded a debt or a liability and also attracts the condition under section 139 of the Act. The offence under section 138 under the Act would only be discharged if the party who issued the instruction to stop the payment if proves that at the time such instruction was provided the party had the sufficient amount of fund it was stopped for any valid reason the mentioned, the burden, in this case, falls completely on the party who stopped the transaction. Thus, by contention and argument heard by this court, it is decided that such complaint cannot be quashed by the court.
In the matter appealed by the appellant before this Court, it is decided that such matter will be directed back to the court and should be tried and the judgement given for discharge has to set aside.