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Section 143-A of the negotiable instruments act, interim compensation cannot be granted without giving an opportunity of hearing to accused: Karnataka High Court.

This particular decision is held by the High Court Of Karnataka through the single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna in the case of Himanshu Gupta V. Narayana Reddy.

Facts

The petitioner and respondent had certain transactions and certain cheques issued by the petitioner in favour of the respondent/ complainant appears to have been dishonoured which leads to registration of the crime.

Orders and Judgements

The bench referred to Section 143-A of the Act and said, “Section 143A of the Act, would result in acceptance of the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner only partially. Section 143A of the Act does not in every circumstance mandate filing of an application. The Court, trying an offence under Section 138, may order the drawer of the cheque to pay interim compensation to the complainant and the interim compensation shall not exceed 20% of the amount of the instrument/cheque.”“Till this stage, it is the discretion of the Court, as the statute depicts that the Court may award interim compensation. But once the Court awards, its non-payment results in penal consequences. Sub-section (5) of Section 143A mandates that if the interim compensation is not paid, it may be recovered as if it were a fine under Section 421 of the Cr.P.C. Section 421 of the Cr.P.C.”

Further it said, “Therefore, non-payment of compensation ensues dire consequences. The scheme of the provision being thus,though no application is filed, the Court may grant interim compensation, but it shall not be without hearing the accused, as, if the, Courts would pass orders suo motu without calling upon the respondent to respond on such suo motu action, such action would be in blatant violation of principles of natural justice.”

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Judgement reviewed by- Mohammed Shoaib

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