Consent of complainant required for compounding of offence under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Rajbir Sehrawat, J., dismissed the three petitions which were addressed together involving similar facts but involvement of different cheques and different complaints/proceedings thereunder.

Facts of the case were that petitioner was required to pay certain amount as a result of a settlement between the parties. For the same, petitioner had issued cheque which was dishonoured by the bank and further proceedings under Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 was carried out resulting into the filing of complaint by respondent. During the pendency of the complaint, the petitioner filed applications for compounding of offences. On refusal to compound the offence by the complainant, the trial court had dismissed the applications. This petition challenged the trial court’s order and prayed for quashing of complaint and summoning order.

The issue before the High Court was to see if the application filed by the petitioner for compounding of the offence under Section 138 could be allowed without complainant’s consent.

The High Court was of the view that the requirement of consent of complainant as a basic ingredient for compounding of offences cannot be dispensed with. Thus, the trial court was right in rejecting the application for compounding of offences on the ground that complainant had not consented for the same. In respect to the prayer of quashing of complaint and summoning order, Court found no factual or legal basis to grant the same. [Anant Tools (Unit No.II) (P) Ltd v. Anant Tools (P) Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 1723, decided on 20-09-2018]

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