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P. Kumaravel v/s Shree Bhaarathi Cotton Mills (P) Ltd., regd. private company through its Accounts Officer

    Criminal Original Petition No. 986 of 2006 and Crl.M.P.Nos.625 and 626 of 2006

    Decided On, 16 November 2007

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court


    For the Petitioner : S. Mani, Advocate. For the Respondent: Siva Ayyappan, Govt. Advocate (Crl.Side).

Judgment Text

(Criminal Original petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C to call for the records relating to C.C.No. 206 of 2005 on the file of the learned Judicial Magistrate No.II, Srivilliputhur and quash the same.)

The petitioner is the sole accused in C.C.No.206 of 2005 on the file of the learned Judicial Magistrate No.II, Sirvilliputhur and he seeks to quash the said case. The respondent is the complainant. The offence alleged against the petitioner is one punishable under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act.

2. According to the allegations in the complaint, the petitioner was liable to pay a sum of Rs.13,68,000/- with reference to some business transaction. In partial discharge of the said liability, the petitioner had issued two cheques dated 17.10.2004 for Rs.18,000/- and Rs.4,14,000/- respectively in favour of the said Company, namely, Vijaya Yarn Traders.

3. The respondent had business transaction with Vijaya Yarn Traders and it had fallen in arrears of payment to the respondent to the tune of Rs.9,45,839 as on 01.04.2005. When the respondent demanded the payment of the said amount, Vijaya Yarn Traders through its proprietrix endorsed the above stated two cheques in favour of the respondent, in discharge of the said liability.

4. Subsequently, the respondent presented the cheques for collection and the same was dishonoured. It is also stated in the complaint that on 30.01.2004 the petitioner gave an undertaking letter to the respondent thereby undertaking to pay Rs.13,16,000/-, which is the amount due to Vijaya Yarn Traders. Statutory notice was given in respect of the dishonour of the cheque and since the same was not complied with, the present private complaint was filed.

5. Learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that the private complaint is liable to quashed on two grounds. The first ground is that the learned Judicial Magistrate has no territorial jurisdiction to try the said case and therefore, the proceeding pending before the said Court is not maintainable.

6. To substantiate the said ground, learned counsel would submit that neither the petitioner nor the respondent is residing within the jurisdiction of the said Court, nor there was any transaction between the petitioner and the respondent within the jurisdiction of the said Court.

7. A perusal of the complaint would show that statutory notice was given at Srivilliputhur well within the jurisdiction of the said Magistrate Court. In K.Baskaran VS Shankaran Vaidhyan Balan and another reported in 1999 Supreme Court Cases(Cri) 1284, the Honourable Supreme Court held as follows:

"The offence under Section 138 of the Act can be completed only with the concatenation of a number of acts. The following are the acts which are components of the said offence: (1) drawing of the cheque;(2) presentation of the cheque to the bank; (3) returning the cheque unpaid by the drawee bank; (4) giving notice in writing to the drawer of the cheque demanding payment of the cheque amount; (5) failure of the drawer to make payment within 15 days of the receipt of the notice.

Thus, it is clear, if the five different acts were done in five different localities any one of the courts exercising jurisdiction in one of the five local areas can become the place of trial for the offence under Section 138 of the Act. In other words, the complainant can choose any one of those courts having jurisdiction over any one of the local areas within the territorial limits of which any one of those five acts was done. As the amplitude stands so widened and so expansive it is an idle exercise to raise jurisdictional question regarding the offence under Section 138 of the Act."

As declared by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, the place where the statutory notice is given also gives rise to the jurisdiction for the Court to entertain the complaint. In this case, admittedly, statutory notice was given well within the jurisdiction of the learned Judicial Magistrate No. II, Srivilliputhur and therefore, learned Judicial Magistrate No.II, Srivilliputhur has jurisdiction to try the case. Thus the first ground raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner falls to the ground.

8. The second ground raised in the petition is that the cheques were only issued by the petitioner to Vijaya Yarn Traders and the cheques have been created by committing forgery. In my considered opinion, whether the cheque was issued in discharge of any liability in favour of Vijaya Yarn Traders or not, as stated by the respondent or whether the same was created by means of forgery are all matters to be decided by the trial Court on evidence, after affording sufficient opportunity to both parties either to prove or disprove the said fact. At this stage, I cannot hold that the cheques have been created by committing forgery. Therefore, the second ground also falls.

9. Learned counsel, now raises a point though the same has not been raised in the petition. Learned counsel would submit that it is seen from the disputed cheques that the date of both cheques were dated 18.07.2003 but the same was altered as 17.10.2004 and according to the learned counsel this is a material alteration, which vitiates the entire proceedings. In my considered opinion,whether these alterations were made by the petitioner himself when the cheques were issue

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d or whether they were made by the respondent amounting to material alteration is also a matter to prove by means of evidence before the trial Court at the time of trial. Therefore, I do not go into the said question at this stage. 10. In view of the above legal and factual position, I do not find any reason to quash the case. 11. In the result, the Criminal Original Petition is dismissed. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is also dismissed. The petitioner can raise all the grounds available to him before the trial Court at the appropriate stage of the trial.