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Tedhi Singh vs. Narayan Dass Mahant - (Supreme Court) (07 Mar 2022)

Article 136 of the Constitution only confers a right to obtain special leave in rare and extraordinary cases



The Appellant calls in question the judgment of the High Court by which it dismissed the Criminal Revision filed against the order of the Sessions Judge by which the Court in turn affirmed the order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The Chief Judicial Magistrate found the appellant guilty of having committed the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (‘N.I. Act.’). The Appellant stands sentenced to simple imprisonment for a period of one year. Further, the Appellant is called upon to pay a compensation of a sum of Rs.7 Lakhs.

Section 139 of the N.I. Act provides that Court shall presume that the holder of a cheque received the cheque of the nature referred to in Section 138 for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability. This presumption, however, is expressly made subject to the position being proved to the contrary. It is open to the accused to establish that, there is no consideration received.

However, the accused has the right to demonstrate that, the complainant in a particular case did not have the capacity and therefore, the case of the accused is acceptable which he can do by producing independent materials, namely, by examining his witnesses and producing documents. It is also open to him to establish the very same aspect by pointing to the materials produced by the complainant himself. He can further, achieve this result through the cross examination of the witnesses of the complainant. Ultimately, it becomes the duty of the Courts to consider carefully and appreciate the totality of the evidence and then come to a conclusion whether in the given case, the accused has shown that the case of the complainant is in peril for the reason that the accused has established a probable defence.

There is no evidence to establish that, the Appellant had informed the Bank about the loss of the cheque book containing blank cheque. In fact, in the statement under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), Appellant had stated that this cheque book containing a blank cheque was lost. Appellant has no case that the signature on the cheque in question was not put by him.

Present Court even exercising power under Article 136 of the Constitution may not refuse to interfere in a case where three Courts have gone completely wrong. The jurisdiction generated in an appeal under Article 136 is undoubtedly rare and extraordinary. Article 136 of the Constitution only confers a right to obtain special leave in rare and extraordinary cases. The appellant has not established a case for interference with the finding of the Courts below that the offence under Section 138 N. I. Act stands committed by the Appellant.

The Appellant should be granted relief in the form of substitution of the sentence of imprisonment of one year with a fine. An amount of Rs.5,000 should suffice as substitution for the imprisonment. A further amount of Rs.15,000 shall be paid as compensation to the Respondent. Appeal partly allowed.


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