The Delhi High Court emphasized the fact that if once a cheque is issued by a person, it must be honored. It was remarked that a person is bound to face a criminal trial and consequences if the amount is not paid.
It was noted that the Negotiation Instruments Act provides a sufficient number of opportunities to a person who issues the cheque such as issuance of notice and the opportunity to pay the said amount.
Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said, “Once a cheque is issued by a person, it must be honored and if it is not honored, the person is given an opportunity to pay the cheque amount by the issuance of a notice and if he still does not pay, he is bound to face the criminal trial and consequences.”
Once the issuing of a cheque and signature are acknowledged, the presumption of a legally enforceable obligation in favor of the holder of the cheque arises, according to the Court.
The court also observed that when the sentence is imposed on the accused after conviction, the nature of the sentence under Sec. 138 of the Act should be kept in mind. The nature should be such that it gives proper effect to the legislation and no drawer of the cheque be allowed to take the dishonor light-heartedly.
The Court dealt with a revision petition which sought quashing of the judgment dated 26.03.2021. This was passed by the Trial Court filed against the judgment passed by the MM Court where MM was the petitioner. The sentence given by the MM court included an imprisonment of 3 months and a fine of Rs. 7,00,000. The fine had to be paid to the complainant as compensation in full. The ASJ dismissed the appeal of the petitioner and modified it to pay the fine to the complainant within 4 weeks else in case of default of payment, a simple imprisonment of 3 months would be experienced as consequence.
The Court observed that the revisionist had neither informed the bank about the lost cheque nor requested to stop the payments. This showed his intentions of bad faith. For this argument, the revisionist said that he was a stranger to the complainant and hence had no legal liability towards him.
The revisionist had failed to refute the presumption in favor of the complainant, according to the Court, and a single statement by the revisionist was inadequate to arouse skepticism about the entire prosecution case.
“Therefore, in view of the discussions mentioned hereinabove, I find no infirmity in the impugned Judgment dated 26.03.2021 passed by the Ld. Trial Court, the same is, therefore, upheld. Consequently, the revision petition is dismissed, and Crl. M. (Bail) 1244/2021 is also disposed of accordingly,” the Court said.