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Insufficiency of Funds Will Lead to Person Being Held Liable As per Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881: Tripura High Court

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Case: Sri Balram Chowdhury vs Sri Manik Debnath & the State of Tripura

Facts of the Case

Manik Debnath was a supplier of coal in brick kilns throughout the state. He came to an oral agreement with the two accused namely Amiya Gopal Datta & Balram Chowdhury. The oral agreement was that Mr Debnath has to supply 15.551 metric ton coal to “MAA Bricks Society ” at Rupaichari in South Tripura at Rs 1,20,000/-. This place was owned by the two accused. As per the oral agreement, Mr Debnath supplied 15.551 metric tons of coal on 21/01/2012 in a truck. Ahead of that, the two accused issued the cheque of 1 Lakh for Tripura State Cooperative Bank Ltd. at its Manubazar branch on 21/08/2012. Due to the insufficiency of funds, the cheque was dishonoured by the bank. On the same day, Mr Debnath informed the two accused and requested them for the payment. He gave notice on demanding the money within 30 days from the date of the receipt. They didn’t pay the money. Thereafter, he lodged a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act against the Petitioner and accused Amiya Gopal Datta. 

Prosecution Witnesses [PW]

  1. Manik Debnath (Respondent)
  2. Sri Sapan Das (Advocate)
  3. Jambahadur Reang (Branch Manager of Tripura State Cooperative Bank, Manubazar)

Arguments by Petitioner

Learned Counsel, Mr D K Daschaudhury stated that the Petitioner should get the benefit of the doubt for a fair trial. He requested the court for the acquittal of the Petitioner. During the cross-examination was PW-1 (Mr Debnath), the two accused declined the statements given by the Respondent. Accused said he never issued the cheque and gave 20,000/- in cash. The Petitioner also denied the statements given by PW-3 that the compared signatures on the cheque and appearing signatures in their past records were the same. Further, the counsel came to notice that on 17/11/2015, the Court declined to give the impugned cheque to the handwriting expert. He stated that there is a denial of a fair trial by the court.

Arguments by Respondent

Learned Counsel, Ms S.Chakraborty stated that from the accused, one person namely Amiya Gopal Datta has already paid for his offence and conviction. The other petition should be dismissed. Learned counsel requests for revision dismissal. PW-3 (Jambahadur Reang) stated that he was satisfied with signatures on the issued cheque and appearing signatures on the past records respectively. 

Court Analysis

The Court examined that the driver Abhijeet Debbarma carried the coal in his vehicle and Satya Debbama was received and was also the manager of the Petitioner, none of the both were witnesses in the court. This was briefly examined and the Court found him guilty. The Session Judge observed that one of the two partners of the company, Amiya Gopal Datta paid the fine of his offence without any decision given by the court.

Court’s Decision

The Petitioner was held guilty and was to pay the fine within a period of three months to the complainant as compensation. If the Petitioner approaches the trial court, a maximum of four instalments may be allowed which will be paid within three months. The court is dismissed.

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