A Complaint for Dishonour of Cheque under Section 138
The single bench of High Court of Gujarat comprising Justice J.B.Pardiwala on a complaint for cheque bounce explained the impact of repealing of The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 for amendment in Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, in the order passed in Brijendra Enterprise Versus State Of Gujarat under Cr.M.A 13062 of 2011
It dealt with jurisidiction as below :
In view of the amendment, a complaint for dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Act can be now filed only in the Court situated at the place where the bank, in which the payee has account, is located.
Let me give an example to understand the jurisdiction according to the amendment :
(1) ‘A’ holds an account with the Navrangpura Branch, Ahmedabad, of ‘XYZ’ Bank, issues a cheque payable at par in favour of ‘B’. ‘B’ holds an account with the M.S. University Road Branch, Vadodara, of the ‘PQR’ Bank, deposits the said cheque at the Surat Branch of the ‘PQR’ Bank and the cheque is dishonoured. The complaint will have to be filed before the Court having the local jurisdiction where the M.S.University Road Branch, Vadodara, of the ‘PQR’ Bank is situated.
(2) ‘A’ holds an account with the Navranpura Branch, Ahmedabad, of ‘XYZ’ Bank, issues a cheque payable at par in favour of ‘B’. ‘B’ presents the said cheque at the Vadodara Branch of the ‘XYZ’ Bank (but ‘B’ does not hold account in any branch of the ‘XYZ’ Bank) and the cheque is dishonoured. The complaint will have to be filed before the Court having the local jurisdiction where the Navrangpura Branch, Ahmedabad, of the ‘XYZ’ Bank is situated.
Therefore, to summarise, first, when the cheque is delivered for collection through an account, the complaint is to be filed before the Court where the branch of the bank is situated, where the payee or the holder in due course maintains his account and, secondly, when the cheque is presented for payment over the counter, the complaint is to be filed before the Court where the drawer maintains his account.
Secondly, once a complaint for dishonour of the cheque is filed in one particular Court at a particular place, then later on if there is any other cheque of the same party (drawer) which has also dishonoured, then all such subsequent complaints for dishonour of the cheques against the same drawer will also have to be filed in the same Court (even if the person presents them in some bank in some other city or area). This would ensure that the drawer of the cheques is not harassed by filing multiple complaints for dishonour at different places. It necessarily implies that even multiple complaints for dishonour of cheques against the same party can be filed only in one Court even though the cheques might have been presented in different banks at different places.
Thirdly, all criminal complaints for dishonour of cheques pending as on 15th June 2015 in different Courts in India would be transferred to the Court which has the jurisdiction to try such case in the manner mentioned above, i.e. such pending cases will stand transferred to the Court having jurisdiction over the place where the bank of the payee is located. If there are multiple complaints of dishonour pending between the same parties as on 15th June 2015, then all such complaints would be transferred to the Court having jurisdiction to try the first case.
The Court Concluded on this amendment as below :
To put it briefly, the (Amendment) Act takes care of the interest of the payee of the cheque while, at the same time, also takes care to see that the drawer of the multiple cheques is not harassed by filing different complaints at different locations to harass him (if more than one cheque is bounced).
The (Amendment) Act virtually supersedes the decision of the Supreme Court in the case ofDashrath Rupsingh Rathod (supra).