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2018 (7) TMI 101

urt held that the accused has been successful in creating doubt in the mind of the Court with regard to the existence of the debt or liability - Held that:- The trial court after considering the evidence on record has returned the finding that the cheque was issued by the accused which contained his signatures. Although, the complainant led oral as well as documentary evidence to prove his case, no evidence was led by the accused to rebut the presumption regarding existence of debt or liability of the accused. - The High Court has not returned any finding that order of conviction based on evidence on record suffers from any perversity or based on no material or there is other valid ground for exercise of revisional jurisdiction. There is no valid basis for the High Court to hold that the accused has been successful in creating doubt in the mind of the Court with regard to the existence of the debt or liability. The appellant has proved the issuance of cheque which contained signatures of the accused and on presentation of the cheque, the cheque was returned with endorsement “insufficient funds”. Bank official was produced as one of the witnesses who proved that the cheque was n .....

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a which could not be encashed due to insufficient funds. At the request of the accused the cheque was again represented on 01.03.2006 for collection which was returned on 02.03.2006 by the Bank with the endorsement insufficient funds . 3. A notice was issued by the complainant demanding payment of ₹ 2,00,000/- which was received by the accused on 14.03.2006 to which reply was sent on 31.03.2006. A complaint was filed by the appellant alleging the offence under Section 138 of the Act, 1881. Cognizance was taken by the Magistrate. Accused stated not guilty of the offence, hence, trial proceeded. In order to prove the guilt, the complainant himself examined as PW.1 and examined two other witnesses PW.2 and Pw.3. He filed documentary evidence Exhs.P1 and P6, statement of the accused was recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C. Thereafter, the case proceeded for defence evidence. Accused neither examined himself nor produced any evidence either oral or documentary. In the reply to the notice which was sent by the complainant, it was alleged that the said cheque was stolen by the complainant. The complainant was cross-examined by the defence. In the cross-examination defence denied accus .....

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used the records. 10. The trial court after considering the evidence on record has returned the finding that the cheque was issued by the accused which contained his signatures. Although, the complainant led oral as well as documentary evidence to prove his case, no evidence was led by the accused to rebut the presumption regarding existence of debt or liability of the accused. 11. This Court has time and again examined the scope of Section 397/401 Cr.P.C. and the ground for exercising the revisional jurisdiction by the High Court. In State of Kerala vs. Puttumana Illath Jathavedan Namboodiri, 1999 (2) SCC 452, while considering the scope of the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court this Court has laid down the following: 5......In its revisional jurisdiction, the High Court can call for and examine the record of any proceedings for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order. In other words, the jurisdiction is one of supervisory jurisdiction exercised by the High Court for correcting miscarriage of justice. But the said revisional power cannot be equated with the power of an appellate court nor can it be trea .....

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ecorded, the High Court set aside the order of conviction by substituting its own view. This Court set aside the High Court s order holding that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction in substituting its views and that too without any legal basis. 14. Now, we proceed to examine order of the High Court in the light of the law as laid down in the above mentioned cases. The High Court itself in paragraph 40 has given its reasons for setting aside the order of conviction, it has observed that though perception of a person differs from one another with regard to the acceptance of evidence on record but in its perception and consideration, the accused has been successful in creating doubt in the mind of the Court with regard to the existence of the debt or liability. It is relevant to notice what has been said in paragraph 40 of the judgment which is to the following effect: 40. In view of the above said facts and circumstances, though perception of a person differs from one another with regard to the acceptance of evidence on record but in my perception and consideration, the accused has been successful in creating doubt in the mind of the Court with regard to the existence of the deb .....

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t with regard to the existence of the debt or liability of the accused. 17. Section 139 of the Act, 1881 provides for drawing the presumption in favour of holder. Section 139 is to the following effect: 139.Presumption in favour of holder.- It shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, 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. 18. This Court in Kumar Exports vs. Sharma Carpets, 2009 (2) SCC 513, had considered the provisions of Negotiable Instruments Act as well Evidence Act. Referring to Section 139, this Court laid down following in paragraphs 14, 15, 18 and 19: 14. Section 139 of the Act provides that it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, 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. 15. Presumptions are devices by use of which the courts are enabled and entitled to pronounce on an issue notwithstanding that there is no evidence or insufficient evidence. Under the Evidence Act all presumptions must come under one or the other c .....

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ld in paragraph 20: 20....The accused may adduce direct evidence to prove that the note in question was not supported by consideration and that there was no debt or liability to be discharged by him. However, the court need not insist in every case that the accused should disprove the non-existence of consideration and debt by leading direct evidence because the existence of negative evidence is neither possible nor contemplated. At the same time, it is clear that bare denial of the passing of the consideration and existence of debt, apparently would not serve the purpose of the accused. Something which is probable has to be brought on record for getting the burden of proof shifted to the complainant. To disprove the presumptions, the accused should bring on record such facts and circumstances, upon consideration of which, the court may either believe that the consideration and debt did not exist or their non-existence was so probable that a prudent man would under the circumstances of the case, act upon the plea that they did not exist... 20. In the present case, the trial court as well as the Appellate Court having found that cheque contained the signatures of the accused and it .....

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cing of a cheque is largely in the nature of a civil wrong whose impact is usually confined to the private parties involved in commercial transactions. In such a scenario, the test of proportionality should guide the construction and interpretation of reverse onus clauses and the defendant-accused cannot be expected to discharge an unduly high standard or proof. 22. No evidence was led by the accused. The defence taken in the reply to the notice that cheque was stolen having been rejected by the two courts below, we do not see any basis for the High court coming to the conclusion that the accused has been successful in creating doubt in the mind of the Court with regard to the existence of the debt or liability. How the presumption under Section 139 can be rebutted on the evidence of PW.1, himself has not been explained by the High court. 23. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we are of the view that the High Court committed error in setting aside the order of conviction in exercise of revisional jurisdiction. No sufficient ground has been mentioned by the High Court in its judgment to enable it to exercise its revisional jurisdiction for setting aside the conviction. 24. In the .....

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