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Sec.138 of NIAct -power of attorney can present the case – cheque issued for security/ repayment of debt is to be decided first when plea was taken- complaint though signed by original complainant , it was presented through power of attorney holder her husband – trial completed – at the time of arguments objection was taken for non examining the complaint before taking cognizance – trial court rejected the plea – appeal also confirmed the same – High court reversed the finding and acquit the accused – Apex court held that the main objection is not maintainable and another objection though taken in the case , not considered by High court regarding whether the cheque was given as security for debt or for repayment of the debt and as such remanded the case to High court = CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.2065-2066 OF 2014 [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos.4682-4683 of 2012] Vinita S. Rao … Appellant Vs. M/s. Essen Corporate Services Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. … Respondents = 2014 – Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41933

Sec.138 of NIAct – power of attorney can present the case – cheque issued for security/ repayment of debt is to be decided first when plea was taken- complaint though signed by original complainant , it was presented through power of attorney holder her husband – trial completed – at the time of arguments objection was taken for non examining the complaint before taking cognizance – trial court rejected the plea – appeal also confirmed the same – High court reversed the finding and acquit the accused – Apex court held that the main objection is not maintainable and another objection though taken in the case , not considered by High court regarding whether the cheque was given as security for debt or for repayment of the debt and as such remanded the case to High court =

On  03/03/2004  the  appellant   filed   a   complaint   before   the

jurisdictional  Magistrate  against   the   respondents   alleging   offence

punishable under Section 138 of the NI Act.   Although,  the  complaint  was

signed by the appellant, it was  presented  before  the  Magistrate  by  the

appellant’s husband Sudhir Gulvady on the strength  of  power  of  attorney.

It was stated in the complaint that the appellant was unable to come to  the

court as she  was  not  keeping  good  health  and,  hence,  she  was  being

represented in the proceedings by her husband and power of  attorney  holder

Sudhir Gulvady, who  had  personal  knowledge  of  the  entire  transaction.

According to the appellant, the power of attorney was filed along  with  the

complaint. =

 In  the  written  arguments  submitted  by  the  respondents,  it  was

contended that though the sworn statement of the power  of  attorney  holder

was recorded, he was  not  examined  by  the  complainant  and  since  sworn

statement  of  the  complainant  was  not   recorded   complaint   was   not

maintainable. =

On 09/11/2006  the  trial  court  convicted  the  respondents  of  the

offence punishable under Section 138 of the NI Act.   The  respondents  were

sentenced  to  pay  a  fine  of  Rs.30,12,000/-  out  of  which  a  sum   of

Rs.30,02,000/- was directed to be paid to the appellant as compensation  and

balance of Rs.10,000/- was directed to be paid to the State.   Respondent  2

was sentenced to six months’ simple imprisonment in the event of failure  to

pay the fine amount.

9.    The respondents filed an appeal in the Court  of  Principal  City  and

Sessions Judge,  Bangalore  being  Criminal  Appeal  No.1897  of  2006.   On

17/09/2009  the  said  appeal  was  rejected  by  the  Fast  Track  Court-V,

Bangalore.=

 By the impugned orders, the  Karnataka  High  Court  overturned  the

concurrent judgments of the courts below and acquitted the respondents  only

on the ground that the complaint  had  been  presented  by  the  appellant’s

husband as her power of attorney holder but the power of  attorney  was  not

produced and that in strict compliance with Section 200  of  the  Code,  the

appellant must be examined before cognizance can be taken of the  complaint,

which was not done.=

This Court noted the questions which had to be decided by  it  in  terms  of

the reference order as under:

“(i)  Whether a Power of Attorney holder  can  sign  and  file  a  complaint

petition on behalf of the complainant?/  Whether  the  eligibility  criteria

prescribed by Section  142(a)  of  NI  Act  would  stand  satisfied  if  the

complaint petition itself is filed in the name of the payee  or  the  holder

in due course of the cheque?

(ii)  Whether a Power of Attorney holder  can  be  verified  on  oath  under

Section 200 of the Code?

(iii)       Whether specific averments as to the knowledge of the  Power  of

Attorney holder in the impugned transaction must be explicitly  asserted  in

the complaint?

(iv)  If the Power  of  Attorney  holder  fails  to  assert  explicitly  his

knowledge in the complaint then can the Power of Attorney holder verify  the

complaint on oath on such presumption of knowledge?

(v)   Whether the proceedings contemplated under Section  200  of  the  Code

can be dispensed with in the light of Section 145 of the N.I. Act which  was

introduced by an amendment in the year 2002?”

=

On the basis of the averments made in the complaint and on  the  basis

of the above letter, it is contended by learned counsel for the  respondents

that the above cheques  were  issued  as  a  security;  that  there  was  no

crystallized liability or outstanding dues and that  there  was  no  legally

recoverable debt and, therefore, the complaint  was  not  tenable.   On  the

other hand, it is strenuously contended by the  counsel  for  the  appellant

that it is abundantly clear from the above  letter  that  the  cheques  were

issued for a crystallized liability or a legally  recoverable  debt.   Since

the High Court has not dealt  with  this  submission  at  all,  we  deem  it

appropriate to remand the  matter  to  the  High  Court  for  that  purpose.

Hence, while holding in favour of the appellant that the  complaint  can  be

filed by a power of attorney holder and on that ground complaint  cannot  be

held not maintainable and that the  power  of  attorney  was  very  much  on

record, we remand the matter to the High Court with a request that the  High

Court should hear both sides and decide  whether  the  cheques  in  question

were issued as a security  or  for  the  purpose  of  repayment  of  legally

recoverable  debt.  

Considering  the  fact  that  the  complaint  is  dated

03/03/2004, we request the High Court to decide the above question as  early

as possible and preferably within a period of eight months from the date  of

receipt of our order by it.

We make  it  clear  that  the  remand  is  only

limited to the abovestated question and the scope of  remand  shall  not  be

extended any further as we have already answered the other  questions  which

were raised before us.

25.   The appeals are disposed of in the aforestated terms.

2014 – Sept. Month – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41933   

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos.2065-2066 OF 2014
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos.4682-4683 of 2012]
Vinita S. Rao … Appellant

Vs.

M/s. Essen Corporate Services
Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. … Respondents
J U D G M E N T
(SMT.) RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. The challenge in this appeal is to the orders dated 7/3/2012 and
12/3/2012 passed by a learned Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court
allowing the criminal revision petition filed by the respondents under
Section 397(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“the Code”). The
prayer made by the respondents in the criminal revision petition was for
setting aside order dated 17/9/2009 passed by the Fast Track Court
(Sessions)-V, Bangalore in Criminal Appeal No.1897 of 2006 and also order
dated 9/11/2006 passed by the Court of the XVth Addl. Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate, Bangalore in C.C. No.4116 of 2004.

3. The appellant is the original complainant. The respondents are
original accused 1 and 2 respectively. Respondent 1 is a private limited
company and respondent 2 is its Managing Director who looks after the day-
to-day affairs of respondent 1 company. The respondents are financial
consultants and sub-brokers who are engaged in the business of trading
inter alia on the National Stock Exchange, the Bombay Stock Exchange and
the Bangalore Stock Exchange.

4. The appellant filed a complaint for the offence punishable under
Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (‘the NI Act’) against
the respondents. Gist of the complaint needs to be shortly stated.

The appellant and her husband had discussions with respondent 2
regarding trading in 10000 shares of Hindustan Lever Limited belonging to
the appellant. The respondents advised the appellant to entrust the said
10000 shares to them and it was represented that those shares would not be
sold outright; that the respondents would utilize their expertise and
knowledge of the markets to sell and buy back the shares regularly and they
would thereby earn profits for the appellant. The shares were to be held
in trust and any dividends and benefits accruing on the 10000 shares to the
appellant were to be made over to her and, at the same time, the
respondents undertook to trade in the shares when time was favourable,
after studying market trends to make profit for the appellant. It was
asserted that the appellant could, at any time, cease trading and take back
the said 10000 shares. On this understanding, the appellant entrusted the
said 10000 shares of Hindustan Lever Limited to the respondents by
transferring the shares from her Demat Account to that of the respondents.
On 05/03/2002 the respondents addressed a letter acknowledging receipt of
the said 10000 shares. In the month of April, 2002, the appellant had a
doubt about the intention of the respondents. On 25/04/2002 the appellant
addressed a letter to the respondents requesting them to return the said
10000 shares. On 20/05/2002 the respondents replied, undertaking to return
the said shares in lots of 500/10000 citing difficulties between them and
their main broker as reason for delay. Another letter was addressed by the
respondents undertaking that the first lot of 500 shares would be returned
by 24/05/2002 and all 10000 shares would be returned by 30/06/2002. A
separate letter was addressed in relation to the monies due to the
appellant on account of dividends accruing and profits from transactions in
the shares. On 25/06/2002 the respondents sought extension of time to
return the shares and confirmed that a sum of Rs.1,54,000/- was due to the
appellant on account of dividends and profits from share transactions. By
August, 2002, the respondents returned only 1460 shares instead of 6000
shares as agreed by them. The appellant addressed a letter demanding the
balance 8540 shares. The respondents sought time till 31/12/2002 to return
the shares and, in return for extension of time, offered to give cheques as
surety for the value of shares being Rs.20,75,220/- as well as Rs.1,79,500/-
being the amounts due towards dividends and profits from transactions in
shares. The appellant agreed to and extended time till 31/12/2002. On
26/12/2002, the respondents returned another 1040 shares to the appellant.
Thus, in all, 2500 shares were returned to the appellant. However, 7500
shares remained with the respondents. The respondents sought time upto
30/06/2003. To secure the interest of the appellant, the respondents
offered to replace the previous cheques dated 30/09/2002 with fresh cheques
securing the value of 7500 shares and the money due to the appellant. The
appellant acceded to this request in the hope of recovering her shares.
The respondents addressed two letters dated 22/02/2003 reiterating their
commitment to return the shares as well as amounts due to the appellant and
recording the deposit of two cheques totalling Rs.18,22,500/- towards the
value of shares as well as a separate cheque for Rs.1,79,500/- towards
dividends and profits due from the transactions in the said shares.

As the extension of time was expiring, the respondents again sought
further extension of time till 31/12/2003 vide letter dated 30/6/2003 and
for replacement of earlier cheques, enclosed two cheques; being cheque
No.392942 dated 01/08/2003 for a sum of Rs.8,50,000/- and cheque No. 392943
dated 01/08/2003 for a sum of Rs.9,72,000/- both drawn on Corporation Bank,
M.G. Road Branch, Bangalore, towards the value of 7500 shares in Hindustan
Lever Limited. The respondents addressed another letter dated 30/6/2003
enclosing another cheque bearing No. 392944 dated 01/08/2003 for a sum of
Rs.1,79,500/- towards the value of profits and dividends received in
respect of the said shares. It was stated in the said letter that if the
respondents fail to return the shares by 31/12/2003, the appellant could
deposit the said cheques to recover their dues. As the respondents had
failed to return the 7500 shares or make over the amounts due as promised,
the appellant presented the three cheques bearing Nos. 392942, 392943 and
392944 to her banker – the Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank Limited for
collection on 2/1/2004. On 03/01/2004 the three cheques were returned
unpaid by the respondents’ bank, under two cheque return memos citing
‘insufficient funds’. On receipt of the intimation of dishonour, the
appellant issued a legal notice to the respondents demanding payment. As
the respondents failed to pay, the appellant, not being in good health,
executed a power of attorney dated 03/03/2004 authorising her husband
Sudhir Gulvady to file and prosecute the complaint against the respondents.

5. On 03/03/2004 the appellant filed a complaint before the
jurisdictional Magistrate against the respondents alleging offence
punishable under Section 138 of the NI Act. Although, the complaint was
signed by the appellant, it was presented before the Magistrate by the
appellant’s husband Sudhir Gulvady on the strength of power of attorney.
It was stated in the complaint that the appellant was unable to come to the
court as she was not keeping good health and, hence, she was being
represented in the proceedings by her husband and power of attorney holder
Sudhir Gulvady, who had personal knowledge of the entire transaction.
According to the appellant, the power of attorney was filed along with the
complaint.

6. On 05/03/2004 the statement of the appellant’s husband, who is her
power of attorney holder was recorded. Cognizance of the complaint was
taken and summonses were issued to the respondents. The respondents
entered appearance and pleaded not guilty. On 01/09/2005, 20/09/2005,
22/02/2006, 16/03/2006 and 02/05/2006 the appellant was examined-in-chief
and cross-examined by the respondents’ counsel. Respondent 2 was examined
and cross-examined on various dates.

7. In the written arguments submitted by the respondents, it was
contended that though the sworn statement of the power of attorney holder
was recorded, he was not examined by the complainant and since sworn
statement of the complainant was not recorded complaint was not
maintainable.

8. On 09/11/2006 the trial court convicted the respondents of the
offence punishable under Section 138 of the NI Act. The respondents were
sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.30,12,000/- out of which a sum of
Rs.30,02,000/- was directed to be paid to the appellant as compensation and
balance of Rs.10,000/- was directed to be paid to the State. Respondent 2
was sentenced to six months’ simple imprisonment in the event of failure to
pay the fine amount.

9. The respondents filed an appeal in the Court of Principal City and
Sessions Judge, Bangalore being Criminal Appeal No.1897 of 2006. On
17/09/2009 the said appeal was rejected by the Fast Track Court-V,
Bangalore.

10. Aggrieved by the order of Fast Track Court-V, Bangalore, the
respondents preferred a criminal revision petition in the Karnataka High
Court. By the impugned orders, the Karnataka High Court overturned the
concurrent judgments of the courts below and acquitted the respondents only
on the ground that the complaint had been presented by the appellant’s
husband as her power of attorney holder but the power of attorney was not
produced and that in strict compliance with Section 200 of the Code, the
appellant must be examined before cognizance can be taken of the complaint,
which was not done.

11. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused their
written submissions. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that when
the statement of the appellant was recorded on oath, the power of attorney
was produced. The High Court erroneously held that it was not produced.
It was part of the trial court’s record. This is clear from the fact that
it bears PCR number as well as CC number. Counsel submitted that only plea
raised by the respondents before the courts below was that the appellant’s
husband who is her power of attorney holder was not examined. The
respondents never raised any plea that the power of attorney was not
produced. Counsel submitted that reliance of Chandrashekarappa v.
Sharanabasappa[1] is erroneous because it is contrary to the view taken by
this Court in A.C. Narayanan v. State of Maharashtra[2]. Counsel
submitted that the submission that cheques were issued as a security has no
basis. They were issued in respect of a crystallized liability and this
was acknowledged by respondent 1 in his letters. Counsel submitted that in
the circumstances, the impugned order deserves to be set aside.

12. Learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, submitted
that the copy of power of attorney which is filed in this Court and which
is certified by the High Court does not bear any exhibit numbers which
proves that it was never filed before the trial court. The statement of
power of attorney holder establishes that the power of attorney was neither
filed nor exhibited. Counsel pointed out that the sworn statement of the
appellant is silent on the power of attorney. Counsel submitted that the
objection qua the power of attorney was duly raised by the respondents
before the trial court. Pertinently the list of exhibited documents does
not mention any power of attorney. In this connection, counsel relied on
A.C. Narayanan. He submitted that in this case, it is held by this Court
that the power of attorney holder may file the complaint but the
complainant ought to file pre-summoning evidence affidavit in support of
the complaint. Since this is not done, the complaint must be dismissed on
that ground. Counsel further submitted that the cheques were not issued
in discharge of legally recoverable debt. Letters dated 1/10/2002 and
22/2/2003, exchanged between the appellant and the respondents mention that
the cheques have been issued as security. This is reflected in the
complaint and cross-examination of the complainant. In support of this
submission, the counsel relied on M.S. Narayana Menon v. State of
Kerala[3], Sudhir Kumar Bhalla v. Jagdish Chand[4] and Kamala S. v.
Vidhyadharan[5].

13. We shall first deal with the submission that copy of power of
attorney was not produced by the appellant. We have carefully perused the
written submissions filed by the respondents in the trial court. This
submission was not raised and consequently not considered by the trial
court. In fact, since this submission pertains to documents produced in
the trial court, it ought to have been raised there. It could have been
more appropriately dealt with by the trial court. But it was not raised.
The respondents filed appeal in the Sessions Court. In the appeal memo, no
contention was raised that copy of power of attorney was not produced in
the trial court. Not only was this submission not raised in the appeal
memo, it appears to have not been raised in the Sessions Court at the stage
of arguments. The Sessions Court has, therefore, not dealt with it. This
submission was raised for the first time only in the High Court. The fact
that this submission was not raised in the trial court and in the lower
appellate court weakens its force. The High Court, in our opinion, erred
in entertaining such a belated argument. Having entertained the argument,
the High Court dealt with it in a very perfunctory manner. The High Court
observed that Sudhir Gulvady, the power of attorney holder did not produce
the power of attorney and, hence, he could not have been examined on behalf
of the complainant. The High Court further observed that the complainant
who examined herself also did not say why the power of attorney was not
produced. Significantly, the appellant has not been questioned on this
aspect. Not even a suggestion was made to her that she had not given any
power of attorney to her husband and that it was not produced on record.

14. It was submitted by the counsel for the appellant that the power of
attorney was very much a part of the trial court’s record and, in fact, it
bears the PCR number as well as the CC number, which shows that it was a
part of the record. A photocopy of the said power of attorney is on record
at Annexure-21 to the appeal memo. A true typed copy thereof is also
annexed to the present appeal. It is stated in the rejoinder filed by the
appellant in this Court that the power of attorney was available on the
record of the High Court and a certified copy was issued by the High Court
itself. It is stated that a true copy of the certified copy has been
produced as Annexure P-21 to the special leave petition. It is further
stated that as a matter of practice, the power of attorney is filed along
with the vakalat filed in the matter and not with the list of documents
listing other exhibits pertaining to the merits of the case. In the
circumstances, non-mentioning of the power of attorney is not unusual and
on this basis, no conclusion can be drawn that the said document was not on
record. This assertion is not traversed by the respondents.

15. The power of attorney is specifically given to Sudhir Gulvady for
court cases. The relevant clauses of the said power of attorney read as
under:
“1. To represent me before the said Court to all intents and purposes in
connection with the said criminal case to be filed, prosecuted before the
Criminal Court under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

2. And to appear for and prosecute and defend all actions and
proceedings, to sign and verify all plaints, written statements and other
pleadings, applications, petitions or documents to the court, to deposit,
withdraw and receive documents and any money or moneys from the court or
from the opposite party, either in execution of the decree or otherwise
and, on receipt of payment thereof, to sign and deliver proper receipts and
discharge the same for and on my behalf.

3. To engage and appoint any solicitor, advocate or advocates or counsel
to act and plead and otherwise conduct the said case whenever my said
attorney thinks proper to do so.”

16. Having perused the copy of the power of attorney, we are satisfied
about its authenticity. We view this power of attorney in light of the
statement made by the appellant in the complaint that because she was not
keeping good health and was unable to come to the court and because the
whole transaction was within the knowledge of her husband, who is her power
of attorney holder, her husband represented her. We have no reason to
doubt the submission of learned counsel for the appellant that it was
very much on record. In any case, the fact that this submission which
is factual in nature was first time raised in the High Court casts a
shadow of doubt on its truthfulness. We reject this submission.
17. The second submission of the respondents is that the complaint cannot
be filed by a power of attorney holder. This question is no more res
integra. A Division Bench of this Court while considering a criminal
appeal arising out of conviction under Section 138 of the NI Act noticed
diversion of opinion between different High Courts on the question whether
the eligibility criteria prescribed by Section 142(a) of the NI Act would
stand satisfied if the complaint itself is filed in the name of the payee
or the holder in the due course of the cheque and/or whether the complaint
has to be presented before the Court by the payee or the holder of the
cheques himself. The Division Bench felt that another issue which would
arise for consideration is whether the payee must examine himself in
support of the complaint keeping in view the insertion of Section 145 in
the NI Act (Act No.5 of 2002). The Division Bench was of the view that the
matter should be considered by a larger Bench so that there can be
authoritative pronouncement of this Court on the above issues. In A.C.
Narayanan, the three-Judge Bench of this Court dealt with this reference.
This Court noted the questions which had to be decided by it in terms of
the reference order as under:

“(i) Whether a Power of Attorney holder can sign and file a complaint
petition on behalf of the complainant?/ Whether the eligibility criteria
prescribed by Section 142(a) of NI Act would stand satisfied if the
complaint petition itself is filed in the name of the payee or the holder
in due course of the cheque?
(ii) Whether a Power of Attorney holder can be verified on oath under
Section 200 of the Code?
(iii) Whether specific averments as to the knowledge of the Power of
Attorney holder in the impugned transaction must be explicitly asserted in
the complaint?
(iv) If the Power of Attorney holder fails to assert explicitly his
knowledge in the complaint then can the Power of Attorney holder verify the
complaint on oath on such presumption of knowledge?
(v) Whether the proceedings contemplated under Section 200 of the Code
can be dispensed with in the light of Section 145 of the N.I. Act which was
introduced by an amendment in the year 2002?”
18. After considering the relevant provisions of the NI Act and the
relevant judgments on the point, this Court clarified the legal position
and answered the questions in the following manner.

“(i) Filing of complaint petition under Section 138 of NI Act
through power of attorney is perfectly legal and competent.
(ii) The Power of Attorney holder can depose and verify on oath before the
Court in order to prove the contents of the complaint. However, the power
of attorney holder must have witnessed the transaction as an agent of the
payee/holder in due course or possess due knowledge regarding the said
transactions.
(iii) It is required by the complainant to make specific assertion as
to the knowledge of the power of attorney holder in the said transaction
explicitly in the complaint and the power of attorney holder who has no
knowledge regarding the transactions cannot be examined as a witness in the
case.
(iv) In the light of section 145 of NI Act, it is open to the Magistrate
to rely upon the verification in the form of affidavit filed by the
complainant in support of the complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act and
the Magistrate is neither mandatorily obliged to call upon the complainant
to remain present before the Court, nor to examine the complainant or his
witness upon oath for taking the decision whether or not to issue process
on the complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act.
(v) The functions under the general power of attorney cannot be delegated
to another person without specific clause permitting the same in the power
of attorney. Nevertheless, the general power of attorney itself can be
cancelled and be given to another person.”
19. Thus, it is clear that the complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act
can be filed through the power of attorney holder. In this case, Sudhir
Gulvady is the power of attorney holder of the appellant and he has filed
the complaint on her behalf. The learned Magistrate recorded the statement
of the power of attorney holder under Section 200 of the Code on 5/3/2004
and issued summons. We have perused the said statement. It is signed by
the power of attorney holder and by learned Magistrate. A.C. Narayanan
states that power of attorney holder must have knowledge about the relevant
transactions. There can be no dispute about the fact that in this case,
the power of attorney holder being the husband of the appellant has
witnessed all transactions and he possesses due knowledge about them. He
is associated with all transactions at all crucial stages. The appellant
has placed this fact in the forefront in her complaint. The relevant
paragraph of the complaint reads as under:

“3. The complainant is represented by her Power of Attorney Holder Mr.
Sudhir Gulvady, her husband as the complainant is unable to come to the
Court due to her not keeping good health and the whole transaction is also
within the knowledge of her Power of Attorney holder who is her husband”.

20. The appellant has examined herself on oath. In her evidence, she has
stated that the office of the respondents is in the same building in which
her husband’s office is situated and her husband being acquainted with
respondent 2, who is the Managing Director of respondent 1, he was aware
that respondent 2 was functioning as a broker and, hence, she along with
her husband had initial discussion with respondent 2 for transactions in
10000 shares. Her evidence substantiates her case that her husband had
knowledge about the entire transaction. Hence, the submission that the
complaint could not have been filed through power of attorney holder must
fail.

21. It is then submitted that the pre-summoning evidence of power of
attorney holder should have been filed. We have no hesitation in rejecting
this submission. We have already reproduced the relevant paragraph of the
appellant’s evidence where she has stated that due to her ill-health, she
was unable to come to the court, hence, the complaint was being filed by
her power of attorney holder who had knowledge of the transactions. The
power of attorney holder’s sworn statement was recorded and summons was
issued. This exercise cannot be faulted and is in complete accord with
Section 200 of the Code. At that stage, the power of attorney holder had
stepped in the shoes of the appellant. Otherwise, there was no point in
the appellant giving power of attorney to her husband. A.C. Narayanan
nowhere states that if the complaint is filed by the complainant through
power of attorney holder, the complainant must file affidavit in support of
the complaint prior to issuance of summons.

22. It is pertinent to note that in this case, the appellant has examined
herself as PW-1 and subjected herself to cross-examination. In the facts
of this case, where the sworn statement of her power of attorney holder is
recorded at the pre-summoning stage, the argument that she should have also
filed a pre-summoning affidavit cannot be entertained. In this connection,
we may refer to the judgment of this Court in Indian Bank Association &
Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.[6] where this Court has given a direction
to the Metropolitan Magistrate/Judicial Magistrate to adopt a pragmatic and
realistic approach while issuing summons. It is also urged that the power
of attorney holder should have also been examined on oath. This submission
must also be rejected as apart from being devoid of substance it is clearly
aimed at frustrating the prosecution. When the complainant herself has
stepped in the witness box, we do not see the need for the power of
attorney holder to examine himself as a witness. Law cannot be reduced to
such absurdity. The purport of NI Act will be frustrated if such approach
is adopted by the courts. We, therefore, reject this submission.

23. Lastly it was urged that the cheques in question were not given for
any legally recoverable dues. The cheques were given as a security. The
trial court has considered this plea and rejected it. This submission was
also advanced before the lower appellate court. But it was rejected by it.
The High Court has, however, not dealt with this submission at all though
it was raised in the appeal memo. In this connection, we may reproduce
relevant portion of letter dated 30/6/2003 addressed by the respondents to
the appellant.

“This is further to our letter dated 22/2/2003, I had sought time till 30th
June 2003 to return the balance of 7500 shares of Hindustan Lever Limited.
However, despite my best efforts I was not in a position to return the
shares.

I would earnestly request you to bear with me and allow me to fulfill my
commitment to you. I would once again assure you that the full lot of
shares due to you would be credited to your account and also the amounts
due to you paid in full. As put forth before you personally, I am making
every effort to set right the problems that had occurred in my business.
This has taken longer than expected.

I would be most grateful if you can consider granting me time till 31st
December 2003 to return the 7500 shares to you. I would in the meantime
ensure that smaller lots are credited to your account.

I am replacing the cheques issued to you earlier by the following
instruments:

a) Cheque No.392942 dt. 1.8.2003 Rs.850,000.00

b) Cheque No.392943 dt. 1.8.2003 Rs.972,000.00

If I fail to return the shares by 31st December, 2003, I agree to
your depositing the cheques to recover your dues.

In the case of any eventualities to you, I agree to return these
shares to your husband Mr. Sudhir Gulvady or your children Ms. Aparna
Gulvady and/or Mr. Gautam Gulvady. I request you to kindly return the
cheques issued to you earlier.”
24. On the basis of the averments made in the complaint and on the basis
of the above letter, it is contended by learned counsel for the respondents
that the above cheques were issued as a security; that there was no
crystallized liability or outstanding dues and that there was no legally
recoverable debt and, therefore, the complaint was not tenable. On the
other hand, it is strenuously contended by the counsel for the appellant
that it is abundantly clear from the above letter that the cheques were
issued for a crystallized liability or a legally recoverable debt. Since
the High Court has not dealt with this submission at all, we deem it
appropriate to remand the matter to the High Court for that purpose.
Hence, while holding in favour of the appellant that the complaint can be
filed by a power of attorney holder and on that ground complaint cannot be
held not maintainable and that the power of attorney was very much on
record, we remand the matter to the High Court with a request that the High
Court should hear both sides and decide whether the cheques in question
were issued as a security or for the purpose of repayment of legally
recoverable debt. Considering the fact that the complaint is dated
03/03/2004, we request the High Court to decide the above question as early
as possible and preferably within a period of eight months from the date of
receipt of our order by it. We make it clear that the remand is only
limited to the abovestated question and the scope of remand shall not be
extended any further as we have already answered the other questions which
were raised before us.

25. The appeals are disposed of in the aforestated terms.
……………………………………………..J.
(RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)
……………………………………………..J.
(N.V. RAMANA)

New Delhi;
September 17, 2014.

———————–
[1] 2011 (1) Kar. L.J. 444
[2] AIR 2014 SC 630
[3] (2006) 6 SCC39
[4] (2008) 7 SCC 137
[5] (2007) 5 SCC 264
[6] (2014) 5 SCC 590
———————–
26

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