Complainant’s Presence Not Necessary While Recording Plea Of Accused: Karnataka High Court Restores Complaint U/S 138 NI Act

The Karnataka High Court has ruled that if the complainant does not show up to court while recording the plea of the accused under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the trial court cannot issue an acquittal order.

Justice P.N. Desai, sitting alone in Kalaburagi, granted the petition of the case of Nagaraj v Ishwar submitted by Nagaraj, and the prosecution was reinstated before the Additional Civil Judge.


The appeal stems from a 2013 complaint filed by the appellant under Section 138 of the N.I.Act. Since the current respondent who is being accused did not show up in court for several years, an NBW was issued against them. As a result, in 2018, the accused showed up in court and was subsequently granted bail. The complaint was thrown out by JMFC because the complainant did not show up when the case was posted for recording the plea of the accused.

The complaint was reinstated to its original file after the appellant successfully filed a revision petition challenging the dismissal order. Respondent/accused appealed the order by filing a criminal petition, and the appeal was granted. After that, it became more popular to make an immediate appeal.


In this case, the bench referred to the trial court’s order sheet and saw that it had been “posted” so that the defendant’s plea could be recorded. Even though it had been five years since the complaint had been filed and the respondent/accused had failed to appear in court on 15.9.2018, the court had decided to keep the case pending for want of appearance and had dismissed the complaint for the complainant’s failure to appear in court.

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Judgement reviewed by Deepa Bajaj.

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