The Supreme Court in Standard Chartered Bank vs. State of Maharashtra has reiterated that a Director cannot get a Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act complaint against him quashed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, merely on the ground that apart from the basic averment no particulars are given in the complaint about his role
In this case, the High Court had quashed the summons issued to director and other officials of a company, which had issued cheques to the bank which were dishonoured, singularly on the ground that there are no allegations against them connecting them with the affairs of the Company. The Bank preferred the appeal before Apex court.
Apex Court referred to Gunmala Sales Pvt. Ltd. v. Anu Mehta and Ors. wherein it was held “ When in view of the basic averment process is issued the complaint must proceed against the Directors. But, if any Director wants the process to be quashed by filing a petition under Section 482 of the Code on the ground that only a bald averment is made in the complaint and that he is really not concerned with the issuance of the cheque, he must in order to persuade the High Court to quash the process either furnish some sterling incontrovertible material or acceptable circumstances to substantiate his contention. He must make out a case that making him stand the trial would be an abuse of process of court. He cannot get the complaint quashed merely on the ground that apart from the basic averment no particulars are given in the complaint about his role, because ordinarily the basic averment would be sufficient to send him to trial and it could be argued that his further role could be brought out in the trial. Quashing of a complaint is a serious matter. Complaint cannot be quashed for the asking. For quashing of a complaint it must be shown that no offence is made out at all against the Director.”
The Court, after perusing the complaint made against officials of the Company, observed that the High Court has fallen into grave error by coming to the conclusion that there are no specific averments in the complaint for issuance of summons against the said accused persons. The Bench said “Accused No.1 is the Company, accused Nos.2 and 3 are the Chairman and Managing Director respectively and accused Nos.6 and 7 were signatory to the cheques. As far as the accused Nos.4 and 5 were concerned, they were whole-time Directors and the assertion is that they were in charge of day to day business of the Company and all of them had with active connivance, mischievously and intentionally issued the cheques in question.”
Read the Judgment here.