Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J., dismissed a petition assailing the Appellate Court’s order whereby it had set aside the judgment of conviction passed against the accused (respondent) by the trial court for an offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque).

The complainant (petitioner) alleged that he gave a friendly loan of Rs 4.90 lakhs to the accused and in discharge of such liability, the accused issued a cheque. However, when the cheque was presented to the bank for encashment, it was returned unpaid with the endorsement “insufficient funds”. Subsequently, a complaint under Section 138 was filed and the matter went to trial. The trial court convicted the accused but on appeal, the Appellate Court acquitted him. Aggrieved thereby, the complainant filed the present petition.

The accused was represented by H.G.R. Khattar, Advocate. His defence was that the complainant was employed in the shop of one Subhash Aggarwal. He alleged that the subject cheque was issued in blank to Subhash Aggarwal and the same had been misused. Further, the complainant and his wife earned a monthly income of Rs 15,000 each and they could not have extended a loan of Rs 4.90 lakhs to him.

The High Court was of the view that no error could be found with the Appellate Court’s order. It was observed, “it is very surprising that a person who earns only Rs 15,000 per month would make an arrangement of Rs 4,90,000/- and give the same as a friendly loan. No date of extending the loan or rate of interest at which such loan was extended, has been mentioned. Neither there is any document executed nor the date when the loan was and of its repayment is mentioned.” In the Court’s opinion, the defence raised by the accused was probable and rightly rebutted the statutory presumption. In such view of the matter, the petition was dismissed and the impugned order was upheld. [Sanjay Verma v. Gopal Halwai, Crl. Revision petition 63 of 2015, decided on 15-03-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member) set aside the order of District Forum and State Commission and set aside their orders holding a national bank liable for returning educational certificates of the complainant.

Respondent herein had taken a loan from the petitioner bank under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) Scheme in 1984. He stated that he had deposited his educational certificates with the bank on the assurance that after repayment of the loan, the said documents would be returned to him. After repayment of the loan, respondent approached the bank for return of his original documents; but the same were not returned to him. Being aggrieved, he approached District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. District Forum allowed the complaint, and the bank’s appeal against the said order was dismissed. Thus, the bank approached filed the instant revision petition.

The Commission noted that no documentary proof of the alleged deposit had been filed by the respondent. Petitioner, being a nationalized bank and respondent being an educated person, it was difficult to accept that he deposited such important documents with the bank, without even taking an acknowledgment from it. Moreover, no evidence had been led by the respondent to prove that the submission of such documents was necessary under rules of the bank or PMRY Scheme.

In the absence of any evidence, it was opined that the view taken by the fora was perverse, and therefore the impugned orders could not be sustained.[Allahabad Bank v. Subhash Kumar Mittal, 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 25, Order dated 01-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The Single Judge Bench of S. Sujatha, J. dismissed a petition challenging the decision of  Returning Officer of Kadaragundi Milk Producers Co-operative Society whereby petitioner’s nomination for contesting elections to Board of Directors of the said society, was rejected.

The ground for Returning Officer’s decision was that petitioner was in default of loan taken from the bank. Aggrieved thereby, petitioner filed the instant petition submitting that he was required to pay the loan taken from bank by March 2019 but he had already paid the said loan by January, 2019. Hence, rejection on the said ground was unsustainable. He further contended that his nomination paper had been scrutinized and accepted by the respondent Returning Officer in his presence, but was rejected behind his back later on without providing him an opportunity of hearing.

The Court observed that rejection of petitioner’s nomination behind his back was a disputed question of fact which could not be determined in writ jurisdiction. Relying on the judgment in Umesh Shivappa Ambi v. Angadi Shekara Basappa, (1998) 4 SCC 529 it was opined that the Court will not ordinarily interfere in matters where an equally efficacious remedy is available under the Karnataka Cooperative Societies Act, 1959.

In view of the above, the petition was dismissed granting liberty to the petitioner to resort to appropriate proceedings in accordance with law.[Jayaram K.P. v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 91, Order dated 01-02-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of Sessions Court whereby proceedings in a case filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 were stayed.

Petitioner had filed a case against respondents alleging commission of an offence under Section 138. It was alleged that he had advanced a loan to the respondents, for the repayment of which, the respondents had issued a cheque in his favour drawn on Axis Bank Ltd. However, on presenting the cheque, it was returned unpaid with remarks “payment stopped by drawer.” After a preliminary enquiry, Metropolitan Magistrate issued summons to respondents. Thereafter the respondents reached the Sessions Court which granted a stay on summons order till final decision in another case arising out of an FIR filed by respondents against the petitioner. Aggrieved thereby, petitioner filed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

The High Court noted that in the FIR filed, respondents alleged that the cheque in question was stolen and misappropriated by the petitioner. It was also noted that revisional court stayed the proceedings under Section 138 on the ground that the same would unnecessarily prejudice the trial in the case arising out of the FIR. The High Court held this to be totally unjust and unfair. It was stated “Though questions would arise in the criminal case under Section 138 NI Act as to whether cheque in question had come in the hands of the petitioner legitimately or not, the contentions of the respondents are a matter of defence which will have to be raised by them, the burden of proof of the requisite facts in such regard being placed on them. There is no reason why the case arising out of above-mentioned FIR should have primacy or priority over the case of the petitioner against the opposite party.” The petition was thus allowed and the impugned stay order was allowed. [Mukesh Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6843, decided on 28-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Bench of M. Nimal Kumar, J. refused to quash proceedings pending on the file of Judicial Magistrate (III), Coimbatore.

The complainant filed a case against the petitioner for an offence punishable under Section 138 NI Act, 1881 (dishonour of cheque). Petitioner took a hand loan of Rs 6 lakhs from the complainant. The amount was agreed to be repaid within 6 months along with an interest at 18% per annum for which petitioner issued a cheque. However, petitioner defaulted in paying either the amount or the interest. Consequently, complainant presented the cheque on the bank but it was dishonoured. Hence, he instituted the case.

M. Prabhakaran, counsel for the petitioner submitted that the subject cheque was issued for collateral security for the loan secured by Sri Venkateswara Educational and Charitable Trust. It was contended that the case which was preferred against the petitioner in his individual capacity was not maintainable.

However, the High Court held the said contention to be not acceptable for the reason that the cheque was issued in the name of the petitioner for the loan availed. Further, the petitioner neither repaid the money nor replied to the statutory notice sent by the complainant. It was also held that the claim of “security cheque” was a matter of fact which had to be decided only in the trial. Resultantly, the present petition was dismissed.[K. Velu v. P. Damodharan, 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 315, dated 07-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Devan Ramachandran, J. was seized of a civil writ petition filed by a defaulter challenging proceedings initiated by the respondent bank against him under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act).

The Court took note of the financial constraints and burden pleaded by the petitioner and in the interest of saving time, disposed of the petition granting petitioner an opportunity to repay the loan in installments.

At the outset, the Court opined that it was jurisdictionally proscribed from considering the legality impugned proceedings in view of binding judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court in United Bank of India v. Satyawati Tondon, (2010) 8 SCC 110. Therefore, it refused to consider any of the contentions raised by the petitioner on merits. However, counsels for the petitioner Sri Saiju S. and Smt Rubeena Hilal prayed that notwithstanding jurisdictional limitations, the petitioner may be granted leniency to enable him to pay off respondent’s loan in installments.

It was noted that banks are only interested in recovering and not in pursuing pending litigations for recovery; and on respondent bank’s submission to that effect, petitioner was granted an opportunity to pay the entire outstanding amount to respondent in installments.

The Court clarified that in case of any default by the petitioner, a benefit granted to him under its judgment would stand vacated and the bank would be at liberty to recover entire amount from him by continuing proceedings under SARFAESI Act from the stage as it was on the date of this judgment.[Wills I v. Kerala State Co-operative Bank Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5227, decided on 10-12-2018]

 

 

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anu Malhotra, J. dismissed a petition filed against the order of the trial court whereby plaintiff’s application under Order VI Rule 17 CPC was rejected.

The petitioner had instituted a suit for recovery of Rs 25 lakhs along with pendente lite and future interest against the respondent. In the plaint, it was categorically submitted by the petitioner that that the loan disbursed to the defendant was a friendly loan. In the application filed under the rule mentioned above, the petitioner submitted that ‘the previous counsel had inadvertently made the title of the suit wrongly as the loan was advanced through the company therefore the suit was to be in the name of the company’. The trial court, vide the order impugned rejected the application of the petitioner. Aggrieved thus, the instant petition was filed. It was submitted by the petitioner that it was only a typographical error and the amendment sought would not in any manner change the nature of the suit.

The High Court perused the record, considered the submissions, and was of the view that the petition could not be allowed. According to the Court, it was rightly observed by the trial court that through the application under Order VI Rule 17, the petitioner herein sought to convert the suit filed by a private individual into a suit filed by a private limited company and thus the prayer could not be allowed. The High Court found no infirmity in the order impugned. Resultantly, the Court dismissed the petition and disallowed the accompanying applications. [Varun Pahwa v. Renu Chaudhary, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10730, dated 20-08-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Resolution Commission (NCDRC): The appellant applied to the respondent bank for a loan of Rs 9,00,000, but only a loan of Rs. 5,25,000 was sanctioned. The appellant produced as evidence a letter signed by the Respondent-Branch Manager wherein the respondent expressed inability to sanction a loan of Rs. 9,00,000 at the moment due to unavailability of subsidy. The respondent assured to sanction a sum of Rs.5,00,00 and the balance amount after the subsidy amount was received.

The respondent produced the letter of arrangement, entered into4 days after the assurance received by the appellant, which clearly showed that the sanctioned amount was only Rs. 5,25,000, of which Rs. 1,94, 750 was as premium loan, Rs. 3,04,000 as working capital and Rs. 26,250 to be arranged by the appellant himself. This breakdown was according to the application cum receipt issued by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission which stated the cost of the project as Rs. 5,25,000.

The District Forum and State Commission both rejected the appellant’s stand, hence he approached NCDRC. The NCDRC was of the view that a mere assurance by the bank manager that a greater sum shall be sanctioned cannot be treated as a binding condition on the actual sanction of the loan. Since the letter of arrangement, which was issued on 30.06.2009, 4 days after the letter produced by the appellant, mentions the sanctioned amount as Rs. 5,25,000, the same has to be treated as final.

The counsel for the appellant drew the NCDRC’s attention to a nomination letter dated 31.03.2009 which stated the loan amount to be Rs. 9,50,000 and was duly attested by the respondent. However, more documentary evidence from July 2009, which admitted the actual amount to be Rs. 5,25,000 by the appellant himself was produced and hence the NCDRC held that a bank has to sanction loan by way of issuing a proper sanction letter and only the amount mentioned in the sanction letter can be said to be a loan amount sanctioned by the bank.

Having found no reason for interference with the decision of the lower authorities, the revision petition was dismissed. [Nisar Ahmed v. Branch Manager, State Bank of India, Revision Petition No. 2562/2017, decided on 24.05.2018]