No Charge u/S 138 of NI Act if there is no Evidence against Accused


June 12, 2018

Case name: Arul Mari Joseph v. Edward Raj


In a recent case, the High Court of Madras exonerated the accused of charges under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act for want of evidence.

In the case the accused had been acquitted by the First Appellate Court for the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The appellant in the case subsequently initiated a criminal appeal against the same.

The grievance of the Appellant in the case was that the accused had issued a cheque on account of sum he had borrowed from the appellant earlier. When the said cheque was presented for collection, the same was returned with an endorsement ‘insufficient funds’ and the complainant accordingly issued a legal notice. However, the accused neither repaid the amount nor replied.

In the case, the defence of the accused was that the bag containing cheque leaves and other articles was stolen away, and the disputed cheque leaf was one from the cheque leaves missed by the accused.

The Madras High Court in the case ruled that the complaint to the police regarding missing of the bag with cheque leaves depicted that the same was lodged with the police. Thus, the accused had rebutted the presumption which created doubt about the existence of a legally enforceable debt or liability and the complainant has to establish the enforceable liability through acceptable evidence.

The High Court opined that except oral evidence of the complainant, there was absolutely no evidence, as to the lending of loan to the accused.

Accordingly, the High Court of Madras dismissed the criminal appeal and acquitted the accused for offences under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

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