The Apex Court has held that if the signature on the cheque is admitted, then presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act that the cheque was provided in conduct of a legally enforceable debt will be raised and it is incumbent upon the accused to prove the same.
During the verdict, the bench was hearing the case of Thriyambak S Hegde v. Sripad, which was an appeal against the order of the Karnataka High Court to keep away the conviction held by the Magistrate for the offence u/s 138 of NIA. The bench considered the precedent of Basalingappa vs Mudibasappa (2019), where the principles on Sections 118 (a) and 139 of the NI Act were summed up.
It was stated that once the execution of cheque is permitted, Section 139 of the Act decree a presumption that the cheque was for carrying out any debt or other liability. The presumption under Section 139 is a rebuttable presumption, and the burden is on the accused to raise a likely defence. To rebut the presumption, it is open for the accused to depend on evidence led by him or on the matter given by the Complainant to raise a probable defence. Inference of preponderance of probabilities can be interpreted not only from the matters brought on record by the parties but also by reference to the conditions upon which they depend. It is not compulsory for the accused to come into the witness box to support his defence. Section 139 inflicted an evidentiary burden and not a persuasive burden. Upon this, it is incumbent upon the accused to prove the same.
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