At, High Court of Delhi
By, THE HONOURABLE DR. JUSTICE S. MURALIDHAR
For the Petitioner: Arvind Kumar with Ms. Neelam Rathore, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, Sanjeev Sachdeva with Preet Pal Singh, Advocates.
1. The prayer in this petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) is for quashing of the Criminal Complaint Case No. 50/1 of 2005 titled 'Chaitanya Agro Products v. Achintya Mandal', pending in the Court of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate (MM), Patiala House Courts, New Delhi under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (`NI Act’).
2. The aforementioned complaint was filed in respect of the dishonour of cheque No. 760333 dated 25th April 2005 drawn on United Bank of India, Chowki Branch, P.O. Nabarun, Murshidabad for a sum of Rs. 85,48,801/-. The cheque was presented to the Allahabad Bank, SSI Finance Branch, 3 Red Cross Place, Kolkata, and was returned dishonoured on the ground that it 'exceeds arrangement'. The statutory notice was despatched from Delhi to the petitioner (drawer of the cheque), who is a proprietor of a Chick Shop at Murshidabad in West Bengal.
3. One of the grounds on which the quashing of the complaint is sought is that the Court in Delhi has no jurisdiction to try it. It is stated that all events preceding the filing of the complaint took place outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Court in Delhi.
4. The law in this regard has been well settled in the decision of the Supreme Court in Harman Electronics (P) Ltd. v. National Panasonic India Ltd. 2008 (16) SCALE 317. The view taken earlier in K. Bhaskaran v. Sankaran Vaidyyan Balan AIR 1999 SC 3782 has been further explained by the Supreme Court. After discussing the applicability of Section 177 of the CrPC, it was held in Harman Electronics (P) Ltd. that the place where the notice served is integral to the transactions leading to the commission of the offence under Section 138 NI Act. In para 24 of the said decision it was held that 'while issuance of a notice by the holder a negotiable instrument is necessary, service thereof is also imperative. Only on a service of such notice and failure on the part of the accused to pay the demanded amount within a period of 15 days thereafter, the commission of the offence is complete. Giving of notice, therefore, cannot have any precedence over the service'.
5. In the instant case apart from the single fact that the statutory notice was sent from Delhi, none of the other events, which could lead to even a prima facie view that the offence was committed, took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court in Delhi. Even the service of notice was at Murshidabad. Accordingly, following the decision of the Supreme Court in Harman Electronics (P) Ltd., it is held that the Court in Delhi has no territorial jurisdiction to try the complaint in question under Section 138 NI Act.
6. The Complaint Case No. 50/1 of 2005 titled 'Chaitanya Agro Products v. Achintya Manda
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l', pending in the Court of the MM and all proceedings consequent thereto are hereby quashed. However, this order will not prevent the respondent from seeking any other remedy that may be available to it in accordance with law. 7. The petition is accordingly allowed. The application is also disposed of.