The High Court in the case Sri Kanu Chandra Das Vs. Sri Joydeb Dey upheld the decision of lower courts and held the accused accountable for civil wrong and not criminally after considering the facts of the case. Accordingly, the punishment and fine was reduced.
Facts of the Case
The respondent of the present case granted a loan of Rupees 1 lakh to the petitioner on his request. The entire sum was paid in cash. To repay the loan, the petitioner issued a cheque in favour of the complainant which when put in the bank was dishonoured on the grounds of insufficient funds. Despite having statutory demand notice, the accused failed to repay the said loan within the statutory period. Therefore, the complainant initiated a proceeding against him under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The trial court held him guilty and he was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year and fine of Rupees 2 lakhs. The Additional Judge, Gomati Judicial District at Udaipur also upheld the decision. Aggrieved by this, the accused filed a plea in the High Court.
Arguments of the petitioners’
The Counsel for the petitioners’ alleged that the claimant refused to establish any existing debt obligation against the accused as well as that the impugned cheque was given to discharge any liability. Also, the handwriting on the cheque was not verified. Further, it was not justified to charge a fine that is double of the amount. The witnesses from the other side also changed their statements during the cross examination. Moreover, the accused had no debts and he also paid in full to the complainant.
Arguments of the defendants
They had submitted all the necessary documents along with the money receipt that the petitioner issued him. Also, there were witnesses who testify that he had given the loan to the accused. He also presented the return memo as proof that the cheque was dishonoured.
The court opined that all the evidence proves the accused as guilty but only under civil wrong and not under IPC. Hence, the fine was reduced to Rupees one lakh fifty thousand to be paid in two months and only on non-payment of it, simple imprisonment of six months could be given. Thus, the court upheld the decision of lower courts with some modifications.
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