Case: – P.K. Uthuppu v/s N.J. Varghese & Anr.; Crl. Rev. Pet. No. 1374 of 2010
The High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam recently delivered a judgment that upheld the conviction of an accused under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The case involved a private complaint filed by the Respondent against the Accused for dishonour of a cheque. The Accused had issued a blank cheque as security for a vehicle loan taken from the financial institution of the Respondent. The cheque was later filled in by the Respondent towards the repayment of the loan, but it was dishonoured due to insufficient funds.
The Accused contended that he had not issued the cheque voluntarily and that it was filled in by the Respondent without his knowledge or consent. The Hon’ble Court rejected this contention of the Accused and held that even a blank cheque leaf, voluntarily signed and given towards payment, would attract the presumption under Section 139 of the NI Act, in the absence of any cogent evidence to show that the cheque was not issued in discharge of a debt. This presumption applies to the holder of a cheque who has received it, for the complete or partial discharge of any debt or other liability.
The Hon’ble High Court relied on the judgement of the Supreme Court decision in Bir Singh v/s Mukesh Kumar, where it was held that a signed blank cheque, voluntarily given to a payee towards some payment, would not be invalidated if the payee filled up the amount and other particulars. The onus to rebut the presumption under Section 139 of the NI Act that the cheque has been issued in discharge of a debt or liability is on the drawer of the cheque.

Author of this article:
Adv. Ravish Bhatt,
Partner, R&D Law Chambers,
Dual Qualified Lawyer Solicitor | International Tax Affiliate

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