Non-signatory can’t be made accused: HC

Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, December 23
In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a bounced cheque complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is not maintainable against a person, “who has neither issued the cheque nor the same has been issued from his account.”

Taking up a petition filed by Navjot Kaur against INSCOL, Justice Alok Singh of the High Court asserted: “The short question involved in the present case is as to whether a person, who is neither a signatory of the cheque, nor has issued cheque, can be made accused in a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act?.

“No complaint under Section 138 is maintainable against the person who has neither issued the cheque nor the same was issued from her account.”

INSCOL had earlier filed a complaint against Avtar Singh and his daughter Navjot Kaur. The complainant alleged that Navjot Kaur had secured admission to foreign nursing course; and her father issued an account payee cheque dated September 16, 2007, for Rs 1,25,000.

On the presentation, the cheque was dishonoured due to insufficient funds, after which a complaint was filed before a Magistrate on November 27, 2007.

After hearing the arguments and going through the documents, Justice Alok Singh ruled: “From the perusal of Section 138, I have no hesitation to hold that complaint under Section 138 can only be filed against the person, who has drawn the cheque on an account maintained by him with the banker for payment of any amount of money.

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