Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vinod Goel, J. dismissed a revision petition filed against the order of Additional District Judge whereby petitioners application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC was dismissed.

The respondents, an unregistered partnership firm, had filed a suit against the petitioners for recovery of Rs 24,41,967 on account of dishonour of cheques. The petitioners filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC for rejection of plaint on the ground that the suit was barred under Section 69(2) of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932. The application was dismissed as mentioned above. Notably, Section 69(2) specifies that no suit to enforce a right arising from a contract shall be instituted in any court against any third party by an unregistered firm. Aggrieved by the dismissal of the application, the petitioners were before the High Court.

The High Court noted that in the instant case, the respondents were seeking enforcement of liability of the petitioners created under Sections 30 and 37 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 as the cause of action for the plaint was based on dishonour of cheques. Reference was made to the judgment of Kerala High Court in Afsal Baker v. Maya Printers, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 29914,  wherein it was observed, “by virtue of Section 30 and 37 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, on the dishonour of a cheque, the statute creates liability on the drawer, apart from the general law of contracts.” In such view of the matter, the Court held that since the suit was not based on any contract between the parties, the bar under Section 69(2) of the Partnership Act would not apply. Resultantly, the petition was dismissed. [Hindustan Infrastructure Construction Corpn. Ltd. v. R.S. Woods International Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12960, Order dated 13-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Chander Bhushan Barowalia, J. allowed a criminal appeal filed under Section 378 CrPC against the order of the trial court whereby complaint filed by the appellant was dismissed for non-appearance of the complainant-appellant.

The appellant filed a complaint under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act 1881, alleging that the respondent had to pay a legally liable debt to the appellant. The respondent issued a cheque in favour of the appellant for the same. The appellant presented the said cheque before the respondent’s bank for payment. However, the cheque was returned with the endorsement ‘Funds Insufficient’. The appellant issued a demand notice to the respondent in compliance with the provisions of NI Act, but even then the respondent did not discharge his debt. Consequently, the appellant filed a complaint under Section 138 of the Act. The trial court issued notice for the service on the accused-respondent on 23-12-2015. On that date, the appellant did not appear before the court as he was under the impression that it was a formal hearing and it would be attended to by his counsel. However, appellant’s counsel was busy in conducting a criminal trial before the first Appellate Court and even he could not appear before the trial court on the given date. Resultantly, the trial court, under Section 256 CrPC, dismissed the complaint and acquitted the respondent. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant was in appeal before the High Court.

The High Court perused the record and was of the view that the trial court was not right in dismissing appellant’s complaint. The Court noted that non-appearance of the appellant, as well as his counsel, was not due to inadvertence. The appellant was relying on his counsel to appear before the trial court as it was a formal hearing, and the counsel was busy in conducting the criminal trial as stated hereinabove. The Court was of the opinion that such non-appearance was due to unavoidable circumstances. The Court concluded that the non-appearance of the appellant as well his counsel was neither intentional nor willful, but was beyond their control. Therefore, the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned judgment of the trial court dismissing the complaint of the appellant herein. [Padam Singh Saini v. Megh Singh,2018 SCC OnLine HP 784, dated 18-6-2018]