Negotiable Instruments Act: Heavy Burden Cannot Be Placed On The Complainant To Prove The Debt: SC [Read Order]

Negotiable Instruments Act: Heavy Burden Cannot Be Placed On The Complainant To Prove The Debt: SC [Read Order]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that while dealing with a complaint filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, heavy burden cannot be placed on the complainant to prove the debt.

In this case [Pavan Diliprao Dike vs. Vishal Narendrabhai Parmar], the magistrate dismissed the complaint on the ground that the complainant has failed to prove that the cheque which was dishonored was given by the accused to the complainant to discharge the legal debt/liability.

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, on appeal filed by the complainant, had reversed the order of the Trial Court, observing that, as per Section 139 of the Act of 1881, the burden to prove that the cheque in question was issued for some purpose other than discharging legal debt/liability is on the accused. The High Court, while convicting the accused, also observed:

"The cheque was of the account of the accused and the accused has not been able to show that the signature on the cheque is not of the accused. The learned Magistrate has committed an error by dismissing the complaint filed by the complainant on the ground that the complainant has not been able to prove that the cheque in question was given to the complainant to discharge the legal debt/liability."

While affirming the order of the High Court, the bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed:

"We are of the opinion that the High Court has rightly reversed the order of acquittal passed by the trial court wherein the presumption under Section 138 has not been taken into account. The trial court committed an error in placing heavy burden on the complainant to prove the debt."

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