The Kerala High Court held that unless shown differently, a blank check will be assumed to be written for the payment of a debt

Title: P.K. Uthuppu v. N.J. Varghese & Anr.
Decided on: 07 November, 2023

+ CRL. REV. PET No. 1374 of 2010

CORAM: HON’BLE Justice Sophy Thomas

The Kerala High Court ruled that, even in the situation of a voluntarily issued blank check, the presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instrument Act (NI Act) that a check was given to settle debt or liability is still relevant.

Facts of the Case

A guy who had been found guilty of check bouncing under Section 138 of the NI Act filed a revision petition, which the High Court was now deliberating over. The revision petitioner was charged with defaulting on a debt of Rs 4 lakh by writing a check without making sure he had enough money in his bank account. Due to inadequate funds, the check bounced, resulting in a lawyer’s notice from the lender and a Section 138 of the NI Act complaint when the borrowed amount was not returned in spite of the notice. The accused-petitioner was declared guilty by the trial court. A court of appeals maintained the conviction but lowered the punishment.

Courts analysis and decision

The petitioner was found to have neglected to present any documentation proving he had obtained a car loan from the complainant’s financial institution, the court said. However, the Court determined that there was proof that he had taken out a rupees 4-lakh personal loan, as stated by the complainant. The Court further observed that the petitioner for revision had acknowledged that he had provided the complainant a signed check voluntarily. Accordingly, the complainant was given the benefit of the doubt under Section 139 of the NI Act, according to the High Court. In order for him to serve his time and pay the fine, the High Court dismissed the revision petition and ordered him to appear in person before the trial court.

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Written by- Hargunn Kaur Makhija

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