Del HC | Plea of debt being time barred becomes inconsequential where issuance of cheque gives rise to presumption of amount being due

Delhi High Court: The Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. dismissed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC holding it to be an abuse of process of law.

Petitioner was accused for committing an offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque). It was alleged that he had issued a cheque for a sum of Rs 12 lakhs in favour of the complainant for discharging the debt due to him. The said cheque got dishonoured. Therefore, complainant initiated the process under Section 138. The trial court summoned the petitioner as an accused. He assailed the summoning order in the present petition on the ground that the debt had become time-barred and thus the cheque represented an amount which was not legally recoverable.

The High Court observed that the petition at best-raised questions of fact which could be answered only at proper inquiry or trial. Such questions were not permitted to be raised in jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC. Furthermore, the Court held that filing of the petition was itself an abuse of the process of law. It was observed, “issuance of cheque gives rise to a presumption of the amount being due and consequently an acknowledgment rendering the plea of debt being time-barred inconsequential. It will be for the petitioner to show at trial that the amount was not due or that the cheque had not been issued to the complainant.” Therefore, the petition was dismissed and the costs of Rs 25,000 was imposed on petitioner. [Tarun Samdarshi v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6711, Order dated 16-01-2019]

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