Monday, 30 January 2017

Whether purchaser of cheque can file case for dishonour of cheque against accused?

29 A mere reference to Section 9 of the Act makes it clear that a
“holder in due course” means any person who for consideration became
the   possessor   of   a   promissory   note,   bill   of   exchange   or   cheeque   if
payable to bearer, or the payee or indorsee thereof. Thus, a purchaser of
the cheque is a holder in due course and it is not necessary that in favour
of purchaser of the cheque, there should be an indorsement also. A
complaint under Section 138 of the Act, by such holder in due course, is
maintainable.
Coming to the facts of the case, as already noticed, the appellant who is
the payee of the cheque in dispute did not indorse the same, but, only
delivered it to the first respondent­bank. The cheque being a bearer cheque
could be negotiated by delivery in view of Section 47 of the Act. The first
respondent admittedly discounted the cheque. The expression 'discounting'
is defined by the celebrated author on banking; Paget, in the following
terms.
"To discount a bill is to buy it to become the transferee of it by
having it endorsed or transferred by delivery by the holder giving
him a price settled either by agreement or by current rate in the
money market and based on the time the bill has to render."
28. The said definition is quoted with approval by the Division Bench of
Madhya   Pradesh   High   Court   in   the   case   of   Dena   Bank   v.   M.P.N.T.
Corporation Limited, AIR 1982 Madh Pra 85, their Lordships held that
discounting  is nothing but purchasing. Their Lordships further held as
under (Paras 16 and 17) :
". . . . . .It is clear that if the bills and the relevant documents
presented by its drawer are accepted by a banker with endorsement
in  its   favour   and   the   same   are   immediately   discounted   by   the
banker without waiting for its collection, by giving full credit for
the entire amount of the document, so presented, the banker itself
becomes a purchaser and the holder thereof for full value. . . . . . . .
xxxx xxxx xxxx
xxxx xxxx xxxx
. . . . . .that the defendant Bank was not only a collecting agent of
the documents  presented to it by the plaintiff company  but the
documents on presentation were discounted by the Bank and the
value   was   credited   to   the   account   of   the   plaintiff   immediately
without waiting for its collection from the drawee. These facts and
circumstances clearly make out a case that the Bank was purchaser

of title documents and it was holder thereof for full value. . . . . "
On the facts of the case before their Lordships, it appears that the bill of
exchange in question was in fact indorsed by the holder. In such a case,
having regard to the language of Section 35 of the Negotiable Instruments
Act, their Lordships should have reached a conclusion that the indorsee
was   liable   and   the   result   of   the   appeal   should   have   been   otherwise.
Apparently, Section 35 of the Act was not brought to the notice of their
Lordships, I am in entire agreement with the view of the opinion of their
Lordships insofar as the effect of discounting is concerned. With respect to
the  conclusions  reached   by their  Lordships,  for  the  reasons  mentioned
above, I mostly humbly disagree.
29. If that is the legal effect of discounting, the first respondent­bank has
become a holder in due course and, therefore, is entitled to recover the
amount   from   the   parties   to   the   cheque.  
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION (FOR QUASHING & SET ASIDE
FIR/ORDER) NO. 18025 of 2014

RATILAL HARMANBHAI PATEL
Versus
STATE OF GUJARAT & 1

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA
Date : 23/02/2016
Citation:2016 ALLMR(CRI)JOURNAL558

1 Since the issues raised in all the captioned applications are more or less
the same, those were heard analogously and are being disposed of by this
common judgment and order.
2 By these applications, the applicant – original accused No.3 seeks
to invoke the inherent powers of this Court praying for quashing of the
proceedings of the Criminal Cases referred to in the prayer clause of
each of the applications pending in the Court of the learned Principal
Civil Jude and Judicial Magistrate First Class, Borsad, District: Anand.
3 The   Criminal   Miscellaneous   Application   No.18025   of   2014   is
treated as the lead matter. 
4 The facts of the case are as under:
4.1 The   respondent   No.2   –   original   complainant   filed   a   private
complaint   for   the   offence   punishable   under   Section   138   of   the
Negotiable Instruments Act as well as for the offence punishable under
Sections   420   read   with   114   of   the   Indian   Penal   Code   against   the
applicant herein and two other co­accused in the Court of the learned
Judicial Magistrate First Class, Borsad. 
4.2 It appears from the averments made in the complaint that the
original accused No.1, namely, Manoj Jayantibhai Patel, proprietor of a
proprietory concern running in the name of M/s. Hina Tobacco issued a
cheque   drawn   in   the   name   of   the   accused   No.2,   namely,   Ramesh
Chhotabhai   Thakore   dated   13th  January,   2009   for   the   amount   of
Rs.1,00,000/­ (Rupees one lac only) drawn on the Dena Bank, Bhadran.
The cheque issued by the accused No.1 in favour of the accused No.2

was towards the discharge of some debts incurred by the accused No.1
towards the accused No.2. 
4.3 It appears that the accused No.2 also had some transaction with
the applicant herein. The accused No.2 in turn indorsed the cheque in
favour of the applicant herein. 
4.4 The applicant, in turn, indorsed the cheque and got it discounted
through the complainant. The complainant is one of the partners of a
partnership firm engaged in the business of finance and discounting. 
4.5 It is the case of the complainant that the applicant herein, after
indorsing the cheque, received Rs.1,00,000/­ from the complainant. It is
also averred in the complaint that the applicant herein also signed few
vouchers acknowledging the receipt of the amount. The applicant herein
is   also   said   to   have   issued   a   promissory   note   in   favour   of   the
complainant in that regard. 
4.6 It is the case of the complainant that, according to the instructions
of the applicant herein, he presented the cheque for encashment in the
account maintained with the Dena Bank, Bhadran Branch. The bank
returned   the   cheque   to   the   complainant   with   an   endorsement   “not
arranged for” . 
4.7 It is the case of the complainant that the dishonour of the cheque
was brought to the notice of all the three accused persons, but they
failed   to   make   the   payment.   After   completing   the   necessary   legal
formalities and issue of notice, the complainant thought fit to file five
different complaints as five cheques were involved. 
4.8 It appears that the Judicial Magistrate First Class took cognizance
upon   all   the   five   complaints   and   issued   process   for   the   offence

punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. 
4.9 The complaints culminated in five different criminal cases. 
4.10 The   applicant   –  original   accused   No.3   has   come   up   with   five
applications under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,
praying for quashing of the criminal proceedings. 
5 Mr.   Kunal   S.   Shah,   the   learned   advocate   appearing   for   the
applicant vehemently submitted that the complaint under Section 138 of
the Negotiable Instruments Act against his client is not maintainable. He
submitted that his client is not the drawer of the cheque. According to
Mr. Shah, it is the accused No.1, who had issued the cheque in favour of
the accused No.2, and the accused No.2, after indorsing the cheque,
handed it over to his client. His client, in turn, indorsed the cheque and
got it discounted through the complainant. 
6 According to Mr. Shah, the complainant cannot be termed as a
“holder in due course” and even if he is believed to be the “holder in due
course”, a complaint under Section 138 of the Act is not maintainable at
the instance of a holder in due course. 
7 According to Mr. Shah, merely because his client got the cheques
discounted and received the amount from the complainant, he cannot be
made liable under Section 138 of the Act. He submitted that a holder in
due course of a Negotiable Instruments Act cannot maintain a complaint
under Section 138 of the Act in the absence of a legal enforceable debt
between the parties, and hence, the proceedings may be quashed.  
8 Mr. Shah submitted that to attract the ingredients of Section 138
of   the   Act,   the   complainant   must   prove   that   there   was   a   legal
enforceable debt between the complainant and his client. In the present

set of facts, it would disclose that there was no legal enforceable debt
between the accused applicant herein and the complainant. It is purely a
commercial   transaction   between   the   complainant   and   the   applicant
accused. 
9 Mr. Shah submitted that on a true and fair construction of the
language of Section 138 of the Act, it is clear that the Act has not
envisaged any vicarious liability, except under Section 141 of the Act
and,   therefore,   the   prosecution   against   the   applicant   herein   is   not
maintainable. 
10 Mr. Shah, in support of his submissions, placed strong reliance on
a judgment rendered by a learned Single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh
High Court in the case of Shridi Sai Steel, Balu Complex and others,
etc v. State of A.P. And another [2002 Criminal Law Journal 3193]. 
11 On the other hand, all these applications are vehemently opposed
by   Shri   P.S.   Chaudhary,   the   learned   advocate   appearing   for   the
complainant. He submitted that a complaint under Section 138 of the
Act   is   maintainable   at   the   instance   of   a   holder   in   due   course.   He
submitted that the Andhra Pradesh High Court judgment in the case of
Shridi Sai Steel (supra) relied upon by the learned counsel appearing
for the applicant is not a good law after the decision of the Supreme
Court reported in Punjab & Sind Bank v. Vinkar Sahakari Bank Ltd and
others [ (2001) 7 SCC 721]. Mr. Chaudhari submitted that in view of
the Supreme Court decision, the payee or holder in due course can
always make a demand for payment of the requisite amount for which
the cheque has been issued by giving notice in writing. He submitted
that it is the payee or the holder in due course that are entitled to
present the complaint under Section 142 of the Act.  He submitted that
the complaint is certainly maintainable by a holder in due course when

the   cheque   was   indorsed   and   presented   to   his   client   who   paid   the
amount after purchasing the cheque. 
12 He submitted that there being no merit in the issue raised by the
applicant, all the applications deserve to be rejected. 
13 Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties and
having considered the materials on record, the following questions fall
for my consideration: 
(I) Whether in the facts of the case, the complainant could be said to
be a holder in due course within the meaning of Section 9 of the Act?
(II) Whether a complaint for the offence punishable under Section 138
of the Act is maintainable at the instance of a holder in due course? 
(III) Whether   the   criminal   proceedings   should   be   quashed   at   this
stage?
14 Let me first look into the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High
Court in the case of Shridi Sai Steel (supra). The complaint was filed by
the Karur Vysya Bank Limited, Visakhapatnam. The 4th  accused in the
said case on behalf of the 3rd accused issued cheques in favour of the 1st
accused drawn on the bank and the said cheques were discounted by the
accused 1 and 2 with the complainant at the Shivajipalem Branch and
received the amount covered under the cheques. The 5th accused and 7th
accused on behalf of the 4th  accused issued cheques in favour of the
accused 1 and accused 1 to accused 3 respectively who discounted the
cheques   with   the   complainant.   However,   when   the   cheques   were
negotiated   by   the   complainant   with   the   Karur   Vysya   Bank   Limited,
Gajuwaka   Branch,   the   cheques   in   question   were   dishonoured   and

returned   with   the   indorsement   “account   closed”.   After   issuing   legal
notices to the accused demanding to pay the amount received under the
cheques which were bounced and since the accused failed to comply
with the demand, the complainant filed the criminal cases against the
accused   therein   and   when   the   said   cases   were   taken   on   file   and
summons were issued, the petitioners therein filed applications to quash
the proceedings under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. The learned Single
Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court while allowing the applications
observed as under:
“6. The learned Advocate appearing for the petitioners submitted at the
Bar   that   a   holder   in   due   course   of   a   negotiable   instrument   cannot
maintain a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act
since there is no legally enforceable debt between the parties and thereby,
the criminal proceedings are liable to be quashed. The learned Advocate
appearing   for  the   petitioners   relied  on  a  decision   of  this  Court   in  K.
Seetharam Reddy v. K. Radhika Rani, II (2001) BC 429=2001 (1) ALT
(Crl.) 175 (A.P.), wherein it was held as under
“The Act has not envisaged any penal consequences for the
conspiracy, abetment and attempt to commit the said offence. The
expressions used in Section 138 viz., 'by a person', 'on an account
maintained by him', and 'such person' make it manifest that the
person who has drawn the cheque on an account maintained by
him alone is liable. 
The   invariable   conclusion   that   emerges   from   the   above
discussion is that the Act has not envisaged any vicarious liability.
In the event of the drawer of the cheque being a juristic person, the
juristic person as well as the persons in­charge of are responsible to
the juristic person for the conduct of the business are liable." 
7. The learned Counsel for the petitioners further relied on the decisions of
this Court in K. Janakimanoharan and Anr. v. Gayatri Sugar Complex
Limited, Hyderabad, and in V. Balaji and Anr. v. D. Vijaya gopala Reddy,
wherein the same proposition of law, as extracted above, is enunciated. 
8. Now the question that arises for consideration is whether the holder in
due course can maintain a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable

Instruments Act ? 
9. Admittedly, the 4th accused on behalf of the 3rd accused in some cases
and 5th accused on behalf of the 4th accused and 7th accused on behalf of
4th accused in other cases issued cheques in favour of the 1 st accused and
that the accused 1 and 2 in some cases and A. 1 to A.3 in other cases
discounted the cheques with the complainant Bank and when the cheques
were   negotiated   they   were   dishonoured   and   returned   with   the
endorsement   account   closed.   As   per   the   allegations   contained   in   the
complaint, there is no legally enforceable debt between the complainant
and the accused. In fact, A.3 and A.4 or A.4 to A.7 did not issue cheques in
favour of the complainant. Cheques were issued in favour of A.1 and A.1
and A.2 or A.1 to A.3 discounted the cheques with the complainant. The
cheques  were  drawn  on Vysya  Bank  Limited,  Gajuwaka.   The  facts  on
record would disclose that the cheques were not issued for any legally
enforceable   debt   and   therefore   the   complainant   cannot   maintain   the
complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. To attract
the   ingredients   of   Section   138   of   the   Negotiable   Instruments   Act,   the
complainant must prove that there was a legally enforceable debt between
the complainant  and the accused. In the present set of facts, it would
disclose that there was no legally enforceable debt between the accused and
the   complainant.   It   is   purely   a   commercial   transaction   between   the
complainant and the accused. The complainant is only a holder in due
course and he cannot maintain a complaint under Section 138 of the
Negotiable   Instruments   Act.   From   a  true   and   fair   construction   of   the
language of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, it is clear that
the   Act   has   not   envisaged   any   vicarious   liability   and   therefore   the
prosecution against the petitioners is not maintainable. For the above said
reasons, it is held that a holder in due course of a negotiable instrument
cannot   maintain   a   complaint   under   Section   138   of   the   Negotiable
Instruments   Act   and   therefore   the   prosecution   against   the
petitioners/accused is liable to be quashed.”
15 For the reasons, I shall record hereinafter. it is extremely difficult
for me to subscribe the view taken by the learned Single Judge of the
Andhra Pradesh High Court referred to above. 
16 Before I proceed to answer a neat question of law raised in these
applications, let me first look into few relevant provisions of the Act. 
17 Section 8 of the Act explains the term “holder”. The same reads

thus: 
“The "holder" of a promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque means any
person entitled in his own name to the possession thereof and to receive or
recover the amount due thereon from the parties thereto.
Where the note, bill or cheque is lost or destroyed, its holder is the person
so entitled at the time of such loss or destruction.”
18 Section 9 of the Act explains the term  “holder in due course”.
The same reads thus: 
“"Holder in due course" means any person who for consideration became
the possessor of a promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque if payable to
bearer, or the payee or indorsee thereof, if a [payable to order,] before the
amount mentioned in it became payable, and without having sufficient
cause to believe that any defect existed in the title of the person from
whom he derived his title.”
19 Section 13 of the Act explains the term “negotiable instrument”.
The same reads thus: 
(1) A "negotiable instrument" means a promissory note, bill of exchange or
cheque payable either to order or to bearer.
Explanation (i).­A promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque is payable
to order which is expressed to be so payable or which is expressed to be
payable to a particular person, and does not contain words prohibiting
transfer or indicating an intention that it shall not be transferable.
Explanation (ii).­A promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque is payable
to bearer which is expressed to be so payable or on which the only or last
endorsement is an endorsement in blank.
Explanation (iii).­Where a promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque,
either originally or by endorsement, is expressed to be payable to the order
of a specified person, and not to him or his order, it is nevertheless payable
to him or his order at his option.
(2) A negotiable instrument may be made payable to two or more payees
jointly, or it may be made payable in the alternative to one of two, or one
or some of several payees.”

20 Section 14 of the Act explains the term “negotiation”. The same
reads thus: 
“When a promissory note, bill of exchange or cheque is transferred to any
person, so as to constitute that person the holder thereof, the instrument is
said to be negotiated.”
21 Section 15 of the Act explains the term “indorsement”. The same
reads thus: 
“When the maker or holder of a negotiable instrument signs the same,
otherwise than as such maker, for the purpose of negotiation, on the back
or face thereof or on a slip of paper annexed thereto, or so signs for the
same purpose a stamped paper intended to be completed as a negotiable
instrument, he is said to indorse the same, and is called the "indorser".”
22 Section 16 of the Act explains the term “in blank’ and “in full” –
“indorsee”. The same reads thus: 
“[(1)] If the indorser signs his name only, the indorsement is said to be "in
blank", and if he adds a direction to pay the amount mentioned in the
instrument to, or to the order of, a specified person, the indorsement is
said to be "in full", and the person so specified is called the "indorsee" of
the instrument.
[(2) the provisions of this Act relating to a payee shall apply with the
necessary modifications to an indorsee.]”
23 Section 35 explains the liability of indorser. The same reads thus:
“In the absence of a contract to the contrary, whoever indorses and
delivers   a   negotiable   instrument   before   maturity,   without,   in   such
indorsement, expressly excluding or making conditional his own liability,
is bound thereby to every subsequent holder, in case of dishonour by the
drawee, acceptor or maker, to compensate such holder for any loss or
damage   caused   to   him   by   such   dishonour,   provided   due   notice   of
dishonour has been given to, or received by, such indorser as hereinafter
provided.

Every  indorser  after  dishonour  is liable  as upon  an instrument
payable on demand.”
24 Section 50 explains the effect of an indorsement. The same reads
thus:
“The indorsement of a negotiable instrument followed by delivery transfers
to the indorsee the property therein with the right of further negotiation;
but the indorsement may, by express words, restrict or exclude such right,
or may merely constitute the indorsee an agent to indorse the instrument,
or to receive  its contents  for the indorser,  or for some  other  specified
person.
Illustrations
B signs the following  indorsements  on different  negotiable instruments
payable to bearer :
(a) "Pay the contents to C only."
(b) "Pay C for my use."
(c) "Pay C or order for the account of B."
(d) "The within must be credited to C."
These indorsements exclude the right of further negotiation by C.
(e) "Pay C."
(f) "Pay C value in account with the Oriental Bank."
(g) "Pay the contents to C, being part of the consideration in a certain
deed of assignment executed by C to the indorser and others."
These indorsements do not exclude the right of further negotiation by C.”
25 Section 51 laws down who may negotiate. The same reads thus: 
“Every sole maker, drawer, payee or indorsee, or all of several joint
makers, drawers, payees or indorsees, of a negotiable instrument may, if
the negotiability of such instrument has not been restricted or excluded as
mentioned in section 50, indorse and negotiate the same.

Explanation.­Nothing in this section enables a maker or drawer to indorse
or negotiate an instrument, unless he is in lawful possession or is holder
thereof;   or   enables   a   payee   or   indorsee   to   indorse   or   negotiate   an
instrument, unless he is holder thereof.
Illustration
A Bill is drawn payable to A or order. A indorses it to B, the
indorsement not containing the words "or order" or any equivalent words.
B may negotiate the instrument.”
26 Section   52   explains  indorser  to  exclude  his  own  liability  or
makes it conditional: 
“The indorser of a negotiable instrument may, by express words in the
indorsement, exclude his own liability thereon, or make such liability or
the right of the indorsee to receive the amount due thereon depend upon
the happening of a specified event, although such event may never happen.
Where an indorser so excludes his liability and afterwards becomes the
holder of the instrument, all intermediate indorsers are liable to him.
Illustrations
(a) the indorser of a negotiable instrument signs his name, adding
the words­ "Without recourse".
Upon this indorsement he incurs no liability.
(b) A is the payee and holder of a negotiable instrument. Excluding
personal liability by an indorsement "without recourse", he transfers the
instrument to B, and B indorses it to C, who indorses it to A. A is not only
reinstated in his former rights, but has the rights of an indorsee against B
and C.”
27 The primary concept lurking behind the expression ‘holder in due
course’ is that of a bona fide transferee for value who usually stands
protected against the defective ownership of his predecessors in title.
The  two   principal   and   negative   features  of   a  holder  in   due  course,
therefore, are that, in the first place, he should not have acquired his
right, title and interest in gratis and that he should not have any ground
to   suspect   a   defect   in   the   title   of   his   predecessors.   Analysing   the
language of the section one finds, therefore, that a holder in due course

must satisfy the following conditions: 
[1] He has acquired title for consideration, 
[2] He has become : 
(a) the possessor of any negotiable instrument, if payable to
bearer, or 
(b) the payee or indorsee  of a negotiable instrument, if
payable to order, 
[3]   He   has   acquired   title   in   the   aforesaid   manner   before   the
negotiable instrument became payable, and 
[4] He did not, at the time of acquiring such title, have sufficient
cause to believe that any defect existed in the title of the person
from whom he derived his title.
28 The material distinction between a holder and a holder in due
course, as stated earlier, is that a holder in due course alone can have
protection against the defects in the title of the previous holders of the
negotiable   instrument   as   substantially   stated   in   the   Indian   and   the
English law on the subject. 
29 A mere reference to Section 9 of the Act makes it clear that a
“holder in due course” means any person who for consideration became
the   possessor   of   a   promissory   note,   bill   of   exchange   or   cheeque   if
payable to bearer, or the payee or indorsee thereof. Thus, a purchaser of
the cheque is a holder in due course and it is not necessary that in favour
of purchaser of the cheque, there should be an indorsement also. A
complaint under Section 138 of the Act, by such holder in due course, is
maintainable.
30 Under Section 139 of the Act, a presumption is drawn in favour of

holder of a cheque, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved,
that the holder in due course of a cheque received the cheque, of the
nature referred to in Section 138 for the discharge, in whole or in part,
of any debt or other liability. Whereas, under Section 118(g) of the Act,
the burden of proving that the holder is a holder in due course lies upon
him under Section 139, burden lies upon the drawer of the cheque to
rule out the existence of the debtor ­ creditor relationship. 
31  Section  138  is not couched in  a precise language. Apart from
being vague, it is likely to be mis­interpreted in a manner different from
what was intended by the law­making body, and this is because of the
words "payment of any amount of money to another person" appearing
in   the   main   enacting   clause.   The   words   "another   person"   are   not
explained. This at the first blush gives an incorrect impression that the
words "another person" mean only a "payee" and that the sweep of the
offence is confined to the drawer and the payee. I, therefore, hold that
both the payee and holder in due course are covered by the expression
"another   person"   but   not   a   mere   holder   or   indorsee   without
consideration.
32 The rebuttable presumption under Section 139 operates only in
favour of the payee or a holder in due course but not in favour of a
person, who, without consideration, became the holder of the cheque.
33 In a prosecution under Section 138, it is open to the accused to
rely  upon   the   other   provisions   of   the   Act  in   support  of   his  plea   of
innocence except the defence that is specifically excluded by Section
140. Where the complainant is a holder in due course, the rebuttable
presumption is that the endorsement of the cheque in favour of the
holder in due course was for consideration and that the cheque was
issued for the discharge, in whole or in part, of a legally enforceable debt

or any other liability. The drawer of the cheque can always take the plea
that the amount covered by the cheque was not for the discharge of any
legally   enforceable   debt   or   liability.   The   initial   burden   is   on   the
complainant to show that the cheque was issued for the discharge of a
legally enforceable debt or other liability. Then the burden shifts to the
respondent to establish that the cheque issued was not of the nature
referred   to   the   Section   138.   In   doing   so,   he   may   also   rely   upon
circumstantial evidence. See Kundan Lal v. Custodian, Evacuee Property,
AIR 1961 SC 1316. The following example will make the position clear : 
"A   issues   a   cheque   in   favour   of   B   for   a   certain   amount.   B,   for
consideration, endorses the same in favour of C. The cheque is returned
unpaid by the bank on the ground of insufficiency of funds. When C files a
complaint against A, initially, C must show that there was consideration
for his receiving the cheque from B. Thereafter, the burden shifts to A to
lead evidence that the cheque was not issued in discharge of a legally
enforceable debt or other liability and that C became the endorsee without
consideration." 
34 Mr. Shah tried to develop an argument by placing reliance on
Section  139 of the Act that the complainant is not a holder in due
course. He also submitted that a presumption under Section 139 would
not apply even if the complainant is believed to be a holder in due
course. 
35 It is true that the definition of “holder” and “holder in due course”,
is given in two different sections. According to Section 8, the “holder” of
a cheque means any person entitled in his own name to the possession
thereof. The definition of “holder in due course” as mentioned in Section
9 of the Act gives the meaning that any person who for consideration,
became the possessor of cheque, if payable to bearer. Section 139 of the
Act would indicate that “it shall be presumed’, unless the contrary is
proved, that the “holder” of a cheque received the cheque of the nature

referred to in Section 138 of the Act for the discharge, in whole or in
part, or any debt or other liability. 
36 A conjoint reading of Sections 8, 9 and 138 of the Act would
include “holder in due course” also, as he alone would be entitled to
initiate the criminal proceedings under Section 138 of the Act as soon as
he gets the said cheque from the holder as an indorser for the purpose of
consideration.   According  to   the   provision  of  Section  15     of   the   Act
referred to above, the maker or holder of a cheque can sign for the
purpose   of   negotiation,   in   favour   of   a   third   party   and   the   said
transaction is called the “indorsement”. Section 138 of the Act would
postulate that where any cheques were drawn by a person on an amount
maintained by him for payment of any amount of money to any other
person   from   out   of   his   account   for   the   discharge   of   his   liability,   is
returned by the Bank as the same is insufficient to honour the cheque,
such person shall be deemed to have committed the offence. In the case
in hand, the cheques were issued by the original accused No.1 in favour
of the accused No.2. The accused No.2 indorsed those cheques in favour
of the accused No.3 i.e. the applicant herein, and the applicant No.3, in
turn, further indorsed in favour of the complainant for consideration.
37 The stage is right for me to refer and rely upon the decision of the
Supreme Court in the case of Punjab & Sind Bank (supra), wherein the
Court observed in paras, 20, 21, 22 and 23 as under: 
“20. The third ground for quashing the complaint is that the complainant
was not "a holder in due course" in the absence of an endorsement made
on the instrument in the manner prescribed under S. 50 of the Act. This
ground was adopted by the learned single Judge without regard to certain
relevant provisions of the Act.
21. Section 142 of the Act envisages a complaint to be made in writing
"either by the payee or the holder in due course of the cheque, as the case
may be". Section 8 of the Act defines "holder" as any person entitled in his

own name to the possession of the cheque and to receive or recover the
amount  due thereon from the parties thereto.  We have no doubt that
complainant­bank was well within its right to possess the cheque and to
receive or recover the amount covered by the instrument. "Holder in due
course" means a person who for consideration became the possessor of a
cheque   if payable  to  bearer  before  the   amount  became  payable.   (vide
Section 9).
22. In this context reference has to be made to S. 118(g) of the Act which
contains  a mandate  that until  the contrary  is proved  the holder  of a
negotiable instrument shall be presumed to be a holder in due course. Thus
there is no escape for the Court from drawing such presumption.
23.It is undisputed that the complainant­company is the holder of the
instrument on its own right. As such it could be a holder in due course also
until the concerned party adduces evidence to rebut the presumption. It is
of course open to the respondents to rebut the presumption in the trial but
till then the High Court could not say that the complainant is not a holder
in due course at all.”
38 In  Gaddam   Venkataraju   v.   Andhra   Bank   (Nationalised),
Hyderabad and another, reported in AIR 2000 Andhra Pradesh 379, J.
Chelameswar,   J.   (as   His   Lordship   then   was)   has   very   succinctly
explained the effect of indorsement and also “discounting”. I may quote
the observations made from paras 12 to 29 as under:  
“12. It is already noticed from the history of Negotiable Instruments that
bills of exchange have always been negotiable. Section 14 of the Negotiable
Instruments Act, defines the expression 'negotiation' and in the context of a
cheque it reads thus: "when a cheque is transferred to any person so as to
constitute   that   person   the   holder   thereof",   the   cheque   is   said   to   be
negotiated. Under Section 8 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the holder
of a cheque is defined to be "any person entitled in his own name to the
possession there of and to receive or recover the amount due thereon from
the parties thereto."
13. To understand the concept of negotiation, the expression 'transfer' in
the   context   of   property   and   the   concept   as   to   who   is   entitled   to   the
possession of the property require examination. There are various modes of
transfer of property known to law. They are sale, exchange, gift, mortgage,
lease etc. Some of these modes are peculiar only to immovable property. As
far as movable property is concerned, sale, exchange and gift are also
known modes of transfer. Whether the other modes of transfer available in
the   context   of   immovable   property   are   also   available   to   transfer   of

movable property is not required to be gone into in this case having regard
to the facts of the case. When the property is transferred either by sale or
exchange, there is a consideration, which could be computed in terms of
money where as when the property is transferred by way of gift, such a
consideration is absent.
14. As a proposition of law it is well settled that a cheque is movable
property. Therefore, normally it is capable of being transferred by way of
either 'sale' or 'exchange' or 'gift'. In all the abovementioned categories of
transfer,   the   transferee   becomes   the   absolute   owner   of   the   cheque.
Possession is one of the necessary incidents of ownership.
15. But possession and ownership of property need not always go together.
Anglo   Saxon   Jurisprudence   recognizes   that   the   owner   of   the   property
always need not be in possession of the property. The owner can permit
some other person to be in possession. At times the possession of property
can   lie  with   persons  who   have   no  title   or  claim   to   ownership   of   the
property   even   without   the   permission   of   the   owner.   It   is   also   settled
principle of law that whoever is in possession of the property is entitled to,
the enjoyment of the said property and if any person interferes with such
enjoyment of the property or deprives the possessor of his possession of the
property, the possessor is entitled to bring an action in law to recover his
possession.
16. The cheque being movable property, any person who is in possession of
a cheque would also normally be entitled to seek protection of law for
enjoying the property. Normally a person who is in possession of a cheque,
should be able to receive the amount due thereon from the persons who
are liable to make payment if they pay voluntarily or recover the same by
initiating appropriate legal proceedings if it is not voluntarily paid.
17. But the legislature imposed limitation on such a right by stipulating
that the holder of cheque would only be a person who is 'entitled in his
own   name   to   the   possession   thereof'.   Though   in   realm   of   immovable
property, a person who is in adverse possession of the immovable property
can resist even real owner from interfering with the property, subject to
the law of limitation, the legislature obviously having regard to the nature
of the  property   in  a cheque  chose  to  define   the expression  'holder'   as
meaning only a person' entitled to in his own name' thereby implying by
some means legally recognized ­ to the possession of the cheque.
18. When a cheque is transferred without consideration by the previous
holder, the transferee becomes holder. On the other hand if a cheque is
transferred for consideration, the transferee becomes holder in due course.
As can be seen from the definitions of 'holder' and 'holder in due course'
that every holder in due course is also a holder, but every holder is not
necessarily a holder in due course.

19. Once a person is a holder, he should be entitled to receive the amount
due on the cheque if paid voluntarily by the persons liable to make the
payment and recover the same by appropriate action in law if the amount
is not paid voluntarily by such persons.
20. The next question is that from whom such amount can be recovered.
Section 8 of the Act says that the amount  can be recovered from the
parties to the cheque. The expression 'parties to the cheque' or 'bill of
exchange' is not defined under the Act. But Chapter III of the Act deals
with   the   same.   Under   the   various   Sections   of   Chapter   III,   legislature
defined   the   liability   of   the   various   persons   dealing   with   the   bills   of
exchange, cheques etc., Section 26 of the Act declares that every person
who makes,  draws,  accepts,  endorses,  delivers,  or negotiates may bind
himself and be bound. Section 28 of the Act deals with agent signing
Negotiable   Instrument   on   behalf   of   any   person   making,   drawing,
accepting, endorsing, delivering, or negotiating the negotiable instruments.
Similarly   Section   29   of   the   Act   deals   with   the   liability   of   the   legal
representative   of   any   of   the   persons   mentioned   above   when   he   signs
negotiable instrument. Section 30 deals with the liability of the drawer.
The liability of every one of the person who would have an occasion to deal
with a cheque/bill of exchange, in various capacities is clearly spelt out by
the legislature in the succeeding sections. The legislature also spelt out the
various circumstances under which such liability accrues to such person.
Therefore,  from   any   one   of  the   persons,   who   deals   with   a  negotiable
instrument, contemplated under Chapter III of the Act, who are the parties
to the negotiable instrument, the amount can be recovered subject to the
limitations imposed under the relevant provision.
21. In the context of a cheque, there is always drawer, drawee and payee.
Apart from them, any one of the abovementioned persons can negotiate
the cheque  thereby creating  rights and obligations  in third parties. As
already noticed from the definition of the expression 'cheque' and 'Bill of
exchange' a cheque can be drawn and payable to a specified person or
ordered to be payable to the specified persons or to the bearer. Depending
on the fact that as to whom the cheque is payable, the mode of negotiation
varies.
22. Section 47 of the Act, stipulates that a cheque payable to the bearer is
negotiable by delivery there of. Section 48 of the Act stipulates that a
cheque (payable to order) is negotiable by the holder by endorsement and
delivery thereof. The expression 'indorsement' is defined under Section 15
of the Act and according to the said definition, whenever the maker or the
holder of the negotiable instrument  signs the same for the purpose of
negotiation, then the instrument is said to be endorsed. Section 35 of the
Act stipulates that any person who endorses and delivers a negotiable
instrument   is   bound   himself   thereby   to   the   subsequent   holder   to

compensate such holder for any loss or damage caused to him, in case, the
instrument eventually is dishonoured by that person who is legally liable
to make the payment. Ofcourse, Section itself provides that the indorsee
may at the time of indorsement expressly exclude or make his liability
conditional.
23.   The   legal   position   in   common   law,   with   respect   to   delivery   of   a
negotiable instrument without indorsement, fell for consideration before
the English Courts in a judgment, reported in Fenn and Harrison, (1790)
100 ER 842. In the following factual background :
"Where   the   holder   of   a   bill   of   exchange   desired   A   to   get   it
discounted, but positively refused to indorse it, and A delivered it to
B for the same purpose, informing him to whom it belonged, and B,
finding that he could not dispose of it without indorsing it, was
prevailed upon to do so by A's telling him that he would indemnify
him; but the indorsee took it upon the credit of the names on the
bill without any knowledge of the real owner.
24. In an action against the holder, the Court by majority held that such
holder is not liable. Buller, J. held :
". . . . . .I consider this action as a new attempt; and it is difficult to
say to what extent it may be carried, if it be encouraged. In the case
of a bill of exchange, we know precisely what remedy the holder
has, if the bill be not paid; his security appears wholly on the face
of the bill itself; the acceptor, the drawer and the indorsers, are all
liable in their turns, but they are only liable because they have
written their names on the bill. But this is an attempt to make
some other persons liable, whose names do not appear on the bill,
and that under circumstances very alarming to mercantile houses
through whose hands bills of exchange pass, . . . . ."
25.Section 35 of the Act embodies the principle of law merchant to the
extent that any person indorsing a negotiable instrument is liable thereon.
However,   either   Section   35   or   the   other   provisions   of   the   Negotiable
Instruments Act are silent about the liability of a party to the negotiable
instrument which he chose not to indorse. Therefore, the principle of law
merchant enunciated in the above referred case still holds good.
26. A Division Bench of Madras High Court, in the case of Valjee Kanjee
and   Co.   v.   Horsookdas,   AIR   1932   Mad   323,   while   interpreting   with
Section 35 of the Act, held :
"Further, the defendants were not endorsers of the bills. They were
transferors by delivery; and a transferor by delivery is not liable on
the instrument; vide Section 58(2), Bills of Exchange Act. It is true

that   there   is   no   provision   in   the   Negotiable   Instruments   Act
corresponding to Section 58(2). But this Section simply embodies
the law merchant which was explained by Abbott, C. J. in Van
Wart v. Woolley, (1824) 3 B and C 439 at page 445 as follows :
"If a person delivers a bill to another without endorsing his
own   name   upon   it,   he   does   not   subject   himself   to   the
obligations of the law merchant, he cannot be sued on the
bill either by the person to whom he delivers it or by any
other. . . .. . . ."
27.Coming to the facts of the case, as already noticed, the appellant who is
the payee of the cheque in dispute did not indorse the same, but, only
delivered it to the first respondent­bank. The cheque being a bearer cheque
could be negotiated by delivery in view of Section 47 of the Act. The first
respondent admittedly discounted the cheque. The expression 'discounting'
is defined by the celebrated author on banking; Paget, in the following
terms.
"To discount a bill is to buy it to become the transferee of it by
having it endorsed or transferred by delivery by the holder giving
him a price settled either by agreement or by current rate in the
money market and based on the time the bill has to render."
28. The said definition is quoted with approval by the Division Bench of
Madhya   Pradesh   High   Court   in   the   case   of   Dena   Bank   v.   M.P.N.T.
Corporation Limited, AIR 1982 Madh Pra 85, their Lordships held that
discounting  is nothing but purchasing. Their Lordships further held as
under (Paras 16 and 17) :
". . . . . .It is clear that if the bills and the relevant documents
presented by its drawer are accepted by a banker with endorsement
in  its   favour   and   the   same   are   immediately   discounted   by   the
banker without waiting for its collection, by giving full credit for
the entire amount of the document, so presented, the banker itself
becomes a purchaser and the holder thereof for full value. . . . . . . .
xxxx xxxx xxxx
xxxx xxxx xxxx
. . . . . .that the defendant Bank was not only a collecting agent of
the documents  presented to it by the plaintiff company  but the
documents on presentation were discounted by the Bank and the
value   was   credited   to   the   account   of   the   plaintiff   immediately
without waiting for its collection from the drawee. These facts and
circumstances clearly make out a case that the Bank was purchaser

of title documents and it was holder thereof for full value. . . . . "
On the facts of the case before their Lordships, it appears that the bill of
exchange in question was in fact indorsed by the holder. In such a case,
having regard to the language of Section 35 of the Negotiable Instruments
Act, their Lordships should have reached a conclusion that the indorsee
was   liable   and   the   result   of   the   appeal   should   have   been   otherwise.
Apparently, Section 35 of the Act was not brought to the notice of their
Lordships, I am in entire agreement with the view of the opinion of their
Lordships insofar as the effect of discounting is concerned. With respect to
the  conclusions  reached   by their  Lordships,  for  the  reasons  mentioned
above, I mostly humbly disagree.
29. If that is the legal effect of discounting, the first respondent­bank has
become a holder in due course and, therefore, is entitled to recover the
amount   from   the   parties   to   the   cheque.   It   is   doubtful   whether   the
appellant can be called a party to the cheque in view of the fact that he is
the payee, but definitely a party to the cheque in view of the fact that he
delivered  the same  to the first respondent  bank,  that he could  not be
mulcted with the liability in view of the above discussion as he did not
endorse the cheque in question,  nor he bind himself to be liable by a
contract   (as   no   such   contract   was   either   pleaded   or   proved   by   the
respondent;) nor there is anything in the Negotiable Instrument Act which
fastens the liability on the appellant. For all the above reasons, the appeal
deserves to be allowed.”
39 In my view, more than a prima facie case is made out against the
accused to put him to trial for the offence punishable under Section 138
of the Act. 
40 In the result, all these applications fail, and are, hereby, rejected.
Notice discharged. The ad­interim orders are vacated forthwith.
(J.B.PARDIWALA, J.)

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