M/s. Meters and Instruments Private Limited vs Kanchan Mehta - Cheque Bounce Case
M/s. Meters and Instruments Private Limited vs Kanchan Mehta - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 -
On 5th October, 2017, in the case of M/s. Meters and Instruments Private Limited & Anr. v. Kanchan Mehta [Criminal Appeal No. 1731 of 2017], it was held that “where the cheque amount with interest and cost as assessed by the Court is paid by a specified date, the Court is entitled to close the proceedings” in exercise of its powers under Section 143 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 read with Section 258 Cr.P.C.” It was held that the “normal rule for trial of cases under Chapter XVII of the Act is to follow the summary procedure and summons trial procedure can be followed where sentence exceeding one year may be necessary taking into account the fact that compensation under Section 357(3) Cr.P.C. with sentence of less than one year will not be adequate, having regard to the amount of cheque, conduct of the accused and other circumstances.”
It was held that “in every complaint under Section 138 of the Act, it may be desirable that the complainant gives his bank account number and if possible e-mail ID of the accused. If e-mail ID is available with the Bank where the accused has an account, such Bank, on being required, should furnish such e-mail ID to the payee of the cheque. In every summons, issued to the accused, it may be indicated that if the accused deposits the specified amount, which should be assessed by the Court having regard to the cheque amount and interest/cost, by a specified date, the accused need not appear unless required and proceedings may be closed subject to any valid objection of the complainant . If the accused complies with such summons and informs the Court and the complainant by e-mail, the Court can ascertain the objection, if any, of the complainant and close the proceedings unless it becomes necessary to proceed with the case. In such a situation, the accused’s presence can be required, unless the presence is otherwise exempted subject to such conditions as may be considered appropriate. The accused, who wants to contest the case, must be required to disclose specific defence for such contest. It is open to the Court to ask specific questions to the accused at that stage. In case the trial is to proceed, it will be open to the Court to explore the possibility of settlement. It will also be open to the Court to consider the provisions of plea bargaining. Subject to this, the trial can be on day to day basis and endeavour must be to conclude it within six months. The guilty must be punished at the earliest as per law and the one who obeys the law need not be held up in proceedings for long unnecessarily.”
It was further held that “it will be open to the High Courts to consider and lay down category of cases where proceedings or part thereof can be conducted online by designated courts or otherwise. The High Courts may also consider issuing any further updated directions for dealing with Section 138 cases in the light of judgments of” the Supreme Court.