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Amit Khanna vs Narender Soorma on 26 September, 2018

In the court of Additional Session Judge­04,  District Shahdara,
(Model/Pilot Project Court), Room No.51, Second Floor,  Karkardooma
Courts, Delhi 

CNR No. DL SH01­004390­2018 date of institution     : 05.07.2018
Crl. Appeal No.19/18        decision reserved on:12.09.2018  
I.D. No.107/18  date of decision        : 26.09.2018
 
In the matter of   

Amit Khanna s/o Sh. Laxmi Khanna
r/o A­44, Top Floor, Gali No.3, Opposite Mary
Convent School, Radhey Puri Extension­I,
Krishna Nagar, Delhi­110051                           …Appellant 
   (accused)
Versus

Narender Soorma s/o Sh. Sharad Chand
r/o Y­12, Naveen Shadara, Delhi­110032           …Respondent

       (complainant)
            
J U D G M E N T 

[On appeal arising from the judgment dated 19.03.2018 and order on
the point of sentence dated 10.05.2018  awarded by the court of Sh.
Vijay Kumar Jha, Ld. A.C.M.M. (Shahdara) (in brief the trial court) in
complaint CC No.7571/2016, Narender Soorma Vs. Amit Khanna].   

1.1 (Matrix   of   facts   of   the   case)   –   Respondent/complainant
Narender   Soorma   filed   a   complaint   u/s   138/142   of   the   Negotiable
Instruments Act (in brief Act) against appellant/accused Amit Khanna
that accused had issued   him a cheque No.455915 dated 28.12.2012
for Rs. 6,75,000/­ drawn on Punjab National Bank (Ex.CW1/1, in the
trial   court   file)   for   return   of   friendly   loan.   Whereas   this   cheque   was
returned   back   by   appellant’s   banker   with   remark   ‘funds   insufficient’

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(Ex.CW1/2),   which   was   followed   by   legal   demand   notice   dated
24.01.2013 (Ex.CW1/3) to the appellant/accused, who had also replied
it by reply dated 18.02.2013 (Ex.CW1/4).   Then complainant filed the
complaint and trial took place.   The appellant/respondent also put his
defence in the legal notice that it was 15.11.2012, when he had given a
cheque   of   Rs.75,000/­   to   his   neighbourer­friend/creditor   Ravi   Arora,
however,   he   misused   the   same.   Appellant/accused     also     replied
complainant Narender Soorma is  a stranger to appellant.

1.2 The appellant/accused was given formal notice u/s 251 Cr.P.C.
and appellant took the plea to state his defence in application u/s 145
(2) of the Act, he also filed application u/s 145 (2) of the Act by taking
the same plea that he had handed over the cheque of Rs.75,000/­ on
15.11.2012 to Ravi Arora and it was given on account of some dispute
and cheque was to be returned to him by Ravi Arora within a period of
two months but Ravi Arora misused the cheque and handed over it to
the complainant.

  The   respondent/complainant   led   evidence   by   entering     into
witness   box   (as   PW1),   he   was   also   cross   examined   on   behalf   of
appellant/accused. It was followed by statement of accused/appellant
u/s   313   Cr.P.C,   without   oath,     he   was   put   adverse   circumstances
appearing against him, now he also took the plea that the cheque was
‘a   blank   cheque’   when   it   was   handed   over   to   Ravi   Arora.     The
appellant/accused also opted for leading defence evidence. He himself
entered into witness box (as DW1).

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1.3 The   trial   court   held   the   accused/appellant   guilty   for
commission of offence u/s 138 of the  Act, while discussing all facts and
features of the case, inclusive of presumptions of sections 118 and 139
of the Act besides the ingredients of section 138 of the Act, while relying
upon Kusum Ignots and Alloys Ltd. Vs. Pennar Peterson Securities Ltd.,
2002   SCC   745   vis­a­vis   the   contentions   of   both   the   sides   were
discussed and then came to the conclusion that the appellant/accused
had issued the cheque in discharge of his liability, which was returned
back unpaid because of ‘funds insufficient’ and the amount was not paid
despite   giving   him   legal   notice   and   the   plea/defence   taken   by
accused/appellant was his duty to prove it, in terms of section 101 of the
Indian Evidence Act, it could not have been proved;  the presumptions
in   favour   of   complainant/respondent   could   not   have   been   disproved.
The   appellant/accused   was   held   guilty   u/s   138   N.I.   Act   for   proof   of
offence by judgment dated 19.3.2018 by the trial court.

         By order dated 10.5.2018 by trial court, the accused/appellant was
also   awarded   punishment   of   fine   of   Rs.7,00,000/­   and   in   default   of
payment   of   fine   simple   imprisonment   of   four   months,   it   was   also
directed   that   the   fine   shall   go   to   complainant/respondent   as
compensation.

2. (Plea   in   appeal)   –   The   appellant   is   feeling   aggrieved   by
impugned judgment dated 19.03.2018 and order dated 10.05.2018 on
the  point   of  sentence   that  the   trial   court  failed  to  consider  the   facts,
circumstances of case and the law, it wrongly came to the conclusion
that   two   close   friends   would   be   unaware   of   family   members,   as   the

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complainant/respondent  deposed   that he was not knowing  the family
members of appellant/accused, then how could there be  friendly loan.
They are stranger for each other. The respondent/complainant did not
declare   of   loan   to   income   tax   authorities   and   the   cross   examination
carried on behalf of appellant has also not been appreciated by the trial
court in respect of the issues emerged therefrom. In K. Subramani Vs.
K.   Damodara   Naidu   2015   (1)   CLJ   185   SC   it   was   held   ‘where   the
complainant failed to prove source of income to lend a loan and also
there was no legally recoverable debt payable by the accused, order of
acquittal   by   the   trial   court   was   upheld’.   Moreover,   the   trial   court
miserable   failed   to   consider   the   reply   to   legal   notice,   statement   of
appellant/accused u/s 313 Cr.P.C.   and also the cross examination of
complainant   on   behalf   of   appellant/accused.   The   judgment   and
conviction are liable to be set aside. 

2.2   (Oral   submissions)   ­       Shri   Nareneder   Bhandhari,   Advocate
contended that many facts are stated by the complainant in his cross
examination,  like about the time of loan, sources of funds but they were
not mentioned  in the complaint or in the legal  notice,  such facts are
improvements from the complaint and evidence beyond the complaint
cannot be read at all.  The complainant was required to prove that there
was   legally   recoverable   loan,   however,   that   onus   has   not   been
discharged,   particularly   source   of   funds   have   not   been   proved   to
authenticate the complaint. The respondent/complainant is stranger for
the appellant, that plea has been maintained throughout from the time
of giving reply to legal notice  and it is also proved by the appellant. The
burden to prove the complaint was on the respondent/complainant, the
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respondent cannot derive any benefit, if the accused takes or does not
take   or   prove   any   defence,   vis   a   vis   the   circumstances   brought   on
record suffice that appellant has rebutted the presumption as well as
complaint could not prove the complaint against the appellant. However,
the trial court failed to appreciate all such material and vital aspects. 

Ld. Counsel for appellant relies upon Kashi Nath (Dead) through
LRs Vs. Jaganath JT 2003 (8) SC 358 (para 17), that while dealing with
the petition u/ss 5 and 6 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,
1955 that when evidence was not on the line with the pleadings and its
variance with it, an adverse inference has to been withdrawn and the
evidence   cannot   be   looked   into   or   relied   upon.     Further,   reliance   is
placed on Rajesh Vs. Miss Sanjana, 2018 (1) DCR 762, while dealing
with   appeal   in   respect   of   complaint   u/s   138   of   the   Negotiable
Instruments   Act,   it   was   held   the   evidence   of   complainant   was   not
cogent   to   show   that   he   has   advanced   loan   of   Rs.   45,000/­   to   the
accused and towards the repayment of the said loan, the cheque was
issued by the accused. The presumption u/s 139 of the N.I. Act is not
available to the complainant, as the said amount is not towards loan
amount.     It   is   concluded   on   behalf   of   appellant   that   under   all   these
circumstances   when   the   complainant   was   bound   to   establish   the
complaint   beyond  reasonable   doubt,   however,   he  failed  to  prove   the
material   aspects   of   consideration,   recoverable   debt,   source   of   funds
and other allied requirements, the impugned judgment of the trial court
is liable to be set aside and consequently the conviction order. 

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3.1 (Plea of respondent/complainant) – Shri Anil Khosla, Advocate
made submissions on behalf of respondent.  The appeal is opposed by
the respondent/complainant that the findings given by the trial court is
based on material on record, reasons given are based on evidence on
record   and   they   are   all   within   the   parameters   of   law.     Neither   the
complainant had made any improvement nor evidence led is beyond the
complaint,  the complainant in his cross examination has also explained
as   to   how   he   had   arranged   the   amount     given   as   friendly   loan   and
cheque was given by the appellant accused in discharge of that debt.  It
was   in   discharge   of   legally   recoverable   amount.   The
complainant/respondent   had   proved   the   case   against   the
accused/appellant   and   appellate   even   failed   to   disprove   the
presumptions   in   favour   of   complainant,   the   facts   proved   further
authenticate the presumption in favour of complainant.   The appellant
himself took different stand from time to time, one stand being cheque
of Rs.75,000/­ was given to Ravi Arora, another stand that cheque was
given blank, Ravi Arora had misused the cheque or handed over it to
complainant;   whereas   cheque   is   in   one   writing   of   its   particulars
including amount of Rs.6,75,000/­.   If the cheque was of Rs.75,000/­,
then   there   is   no   proof   of   any   such   fact   by   accused   that   it   was
manipulated  as Rs.6,75,000/­ by writing figures or numeral  ‘6’ before
‘other numeral’ or words ‘six lakh’ before other words.   It was friendly
loan,   it   would   not   demerit   the   complaint,   if   tax   authorities   were   not
apprised of friendly loan and it was not a commercial transaction.
3.2  Ld. Counsel for respondent/complainant relies upon Sanjay Arora
Vs. Monika Singh, 2017 (2) DCR 640, wherein it was held that failure to

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file income tax return or omission to file passbook or non examination of
witnesses in his support are inconsequential where signature on cheque
is admitted by the accused and no plausible explanation has been given
by   the   accused.     It   is   supplemented   that   it   was   never   the   case   of
appellant/accused   that   it   is   not   bearing   his   signature   and   rather   he
admits that the cheque was issued by him but the plea taken that it was
given to Ravi Arora, that plea has not been established by him or to
rebut the presumptions, accrued in favour of respondent/complainant,
alongwith   the   other   proved   facts.     The   respondent/complainant   also
relies upon Bansal Plywood Vs. State (NCT of Delhi )  Ors. Crl. A.
17/2017 dod 04.09.2017 that presumptions u/ss 118 and 139 of N.I. Act
are rebuttal presumptions and it is obligatory on the part of court to raise
these presumptions in every case, where factual basis for the raising of
presumptions had been established. The onus was on the accused to
disprove   the   presumptions.   Ld.   Counsel   for   respondent/complainant
emphasizes   that   there   is   no   evidence   or   material   led   by   the
appellant/accused to treat that the presumptions were rebutted by him.
The respondent/complainant also relied upon Mallavarappu Kasiviswara
Rao  Vs.  Thadikonda   Ramulu  Firm  (2008)   7  SCC   655,   Bharat   Barrel
Drum Mfg. Co. Vs. Amin Chand Payrelal (1999) 3 SCC 35 and Hiten
P.   Dalal   Vs.   Bratindranath   Banerjee   (2001)   6   SCC   16,   which   were
referred   and   considered   in   Sanjay   Arora   case   (supra).   It   is     also
emphasized on behalf of  respondent/complainant that the particulars of
amount of cheque in question (figure and words) are in the same writing
and   nothing   is  proved   that   it   was  issued   in  favour   of   Ravi   Arora   for
Rs.75,000/­ vis­a­vis there is nothing proved by the appellant/accused

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that name of payee or the amount was intervened or manipulated in any
manner.   Hence   the   appeal   is   without   merits   and   it   is   liable   to   be
dismissed.

4.1 (Findings   with   reasoning)   –   The   submissions   of   both   the
sides are considered, the grounds of appeal and its opposition are also
considered, keeping in view the evidence on record, the provisions of
law and reasons given by the trial court in the judgment.

4.2 The   appellant   has   raised   a   questions   that
respondent/complainant   led   the   evidence   beyond   his   complaint,
however,   the   examination   in   chief   is   based   on   the   contents   of   the
complaint,   which   is   also   based   on   legal   demand   notice   (Ex.CW1/3),
however,   the   appellant/accused   contends   that   the   answers   being
coming in cross examination of CW1 (either with regard to month when
friendly loan was given or of source of funds), it  were not mentioned in
the complaint, they are to be treated beyond the complaint. It is settled
law   that   the   test   for   variance   in   pleading   and   evidence   is   to   be   by
comparing   the   pleading   and   evidence   led   by   that   party   (particularly
examination­in­chief),   the   scope   of   cross   examination   may   be   wider
than the examination­in­chief and it does not mean that the questions to
be confronted during cross examination are to be perceived and to be
incorporated in the complaint/pleading. Since the examination in chief in
the   form   of   affidavit   is   based   on   the   same   contents   of   complaint,
therefore, it cannot be said that because of explanation coming in cross
examination, the examination­in­chief is to be treated as variance from
the   complaint.     The   evidence   led   by   complainant   is   not   beyond   the
complaint. This contention in appeal stand disposed off.

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4.3  Another similar question has been raised with regard to source of
funds   for   loan  the  appellant/accused.    It   is  a  fact   that   neither  in   the
complaint nor in the examination­in­chief, the respondent/complainant
has   mentioned   about   source   of   his   funds,   however,   in   his   cross
examination, he has accounted by splitting the amount of his saving as
well as the amount taken by him from his sister and he has also given
the   date   when   he   took   the   money   from   his   sister.   Since   there   are
presumptions  u/s 118 of the Negotiable  Instruments  Act (inclusive of
consideration)   and signature  on impugned   cheque (Ex.CW1/1)  is not
disputed by the appellant/accused, therefore, on the eve of explanations
and deposition that complainant/respondent had funds from his savings
as well as from his sister, there is no corresponding material brought on
record   by   the   appellant/accused   to   treat   that   the   presumption   was
rebutted   by   him.     So   far   declaration   in   the   income   tax   return   is
concerned, firstly, it was a friendly loan and secondly in terms of ratio of
law   laid   down   in   Sanjay   Arora   case   (supra)   the   appellant/accused
cannot   derive   any   benefit   to   discard   the   plea   of   complainant/
respondent. Thus, this contention also stand  answered. 
4.4.  The   cheque   (Ex.CW1/1)   is   of   28.12.2012   in   favour   of   payee/
complainant   Narender   Soorma,   the   amount   is   mentioned   in   words
‘rupees six lakhs seventy five thousands only’ and also in figure ‘Rs.
6,75,000/­’. The respondent/complainant contended that it was issued in
his favour  by  the  appellant/accused,  there  is again  presumptions  u/s
139  of  Negotiable   Instruments   Act in  favour   of  holder   and  the   same
shall be presumed by the court, but it is a rebuttable presumption and
onus   was   on   the   appellant/accused   to   rebut   this   presumption.   CW1

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Narender   Soorma   was   cross­examined   at   length   and   throughout   he
maintained   that   the   cheque   was   given   by   the   appellant/accused   in
discharge  of  friendly  loan.  On the  other   side,  appellant/accused  took
first plea in his reply (Ex.CW1/5) to legal notice that he had financial
transactions   with   Ravi   Arora   and   he   had   given   the   said   cheque   for
Rs.75,000/­ to Ravi Arora on 15.11.2012 with a clear understanding that
within a period of two months, the appellant/accused shall pay amount
and received back cheque from Ravi Arora, there was some dispute
between them.  In application u/s 145 (2) of the Negotiable Instruments
Act,   in   paragraph   4   thereof   he   took   the   defence   (which   he   had
reserved/opted in reply to formal notice u/s 251 Cr.P.C.) that cheque
was   issued   to   Ravi   Arora   for   a   sum   of   Rs.75,000/­.   The
appellant/accused   put   his   case   during   cross­examination   of   CW1
(recorded on 22.07.2017) that the cheque was issued to Ravi Arora for
a   sum   of   Rs.75,000/­   or   there   were   friendly   relations   between   Ravi
Arora   and   CW1   Narender   Soorma   or   because   of   it   Ravi   Arora   had
handed over that cheque of Rs.75,000/­ to respondent/complainant, and
the cheque was manipulated by respondent/complainant as cheque of
Rs.6,75,000/­. The appellant/accused stepped into the witness box (as
DW1) and he deposed that the cheque issued was ‘a blank cheque’ and
it was given to Ravi Arora; which he had also reiterated in his statement
u/s 313 Cr.P.C. Since the cheque (Ex.CW1/1) is matter of record and all
the   contentions   put   to   CW1   Narender   Soorma   during   his   cross
examination on behalf of appellant/accused or as evidence of DW1, it
has not been proved that it was ‘a blank cheque’ or the cheque was in
favour of Ravi Arora for a sum of Rs.75,000/­ or it was manipulated of

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Rs.6,75,000/­ in favour of respondent/complainant. Whereas, the onus
to prove it was on the appellant/accused. 

4.5 The respondent/complainant had claimed that he is in friendly
relation with the appellant/accused but appellant/accused took the plea
that Ravi Arora and respondent/complainant were friends.   CW1 was
also cross examined about his relations, if any, with appellant/accused,
CW1 responded that he has been knowing the appellant/accused since
2009 although he does not know other family members vis­a­vis CW1
does not know Ravi Arora.   The said Ravi Arora is not only friend of
appellant/accused, being admitted case of appellant/accused but he is
also living in the same building of appellant/accused. It will not demerit
the   complaint   if   respondent/complainant   was   not   knowing   family
members of appellant/accused and it is also not a condition precedent
for to be friends,to know family members.

4.6 The   trial court in judgment dated 19.03.2018 considered all
these   aspects     by   holding   that   the   respondent/complainant   has
succeeded to establish the proof of allegations of offence u/s 138 of the
Negotiable   Instruments   Act   vis­a­vis   appellant/accused   could   not
succeeded   to  rebut   those  presumptions   or  otherwise   to  disprove   the
case   of   complainant.   Therefore,   there   is   nothing   perverse   in   the
judgment dated 19.03.2018 to set aside the same.   To that extent the
appeal carries no weight and it is dismissed to that extent.

5. There is  order dated 10.05.2018, about the quantum of sentence
of fine of Rs.7,00,000/­ and in default four months simple imprisonment
vis­a­vis   the   fine   shall   go   as   a   compensation   to   the   complainant.
Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act prescribes substantive

Crl. Appeal No. 19/18 Amit Khanna Vs Narender Soorma Page 11 of 12
punishment  of two years  or with  fine which  may extend  to  twice the
amount of cheque or with both.  The cheque amount is of Rs.6,75,000/­.
Thus, the trial court had considered personal and family circumstances
of appellant/accused  of  parents,  income  etc.  submitted  on his  behalf
and   then   awarded   punishment   of   fine.     The   fine   of   Rs.7,00,000/­   is
within parameter of law, it meets both ends of justice, from the point of
view   of   complainant/respondent   as   well   as   of   appellant/accused.     It
does not require to be intervened and the order dated 10.05.2018 is
also confirmed. The appeal to that extent is also dismissed.

6.        Accordingly, the appeal is disposed off. His personal bond and
surety   till   decision   of   appeal   is   discharged   and   cancelled.   Since
appellant failed to deposit the fine, therefore, he is taken into custody to
undergo the punishment awarded. Warrant of punishment be prepared
forthwith. 

7. The trial court record be sent back to the court concerned with the
copy of this judgment forthwith. Copy of this judgment is also given free
of cost to the appellant.  Digitally signed by

Announced in open court today
INDERJEET INDERJEET SINGH
Location: Shahdara district,

SINGH Karkardooma Courts, Delhi
Date: 2018.09.23 16:47:04
Wednesday, Asvina 4, Saka 1940 +0530

(Inder Jeet Singh)
  Additional Session Judge­04
           (Shahdara), KKD Courts, Delhi
        26.09.2018

Crl. Appeal No. 19/18 Amit Khanna Vs Narender Soorma Page 12 of 12

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