B. Chandramathi Vs.
[Criminal Appeal No.
181 of 2012 arising out of SLP (CRL.) No. 10537 of 2010]
O R D E R
appeal, by grant of special leave, is directed against the judgment and order
dated 19.8.2008 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore dismissing Criminal
Revision Petition No.639 of 2007 filed by the appellant.
appellant-accused obtained a loan of Rs.4 lakhs on 22.7.2002 from the
respondent-complainant on execution of promissory note and agreed to repay the
same with interest at 18% per annum. On 23.10.2002, the appellant issued a cheque
bearing No. 069725 for Rs.2 lakhs towards the repayment of the loan amount.
When the said cheque was presented to the banker the same was returned with an endorsement
"Insufficient Funds." The respondent served a legal notice upon the appellant
on 30.10.2002 and called upon her to pay the cheque amount.
The appellant replied
to the said notice on 12.12.2010 and sought three months time to repay the
amount. She did not repay the amount. On the basis of the bounced cheque, the respondent
filed a complaint bearing No. CC 1217/03 before the Principal JMFC Court, Davanagere.
Learned JMFC convicted the appellant for offence under Section 138 of the
Negotiable Instruments Act and sentenced her to simple imprisonment for one
year and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/-.
Learned JMFC further directed
the appellant to pay compensation of Rs.2,20,000/- to the respondent. On appeal
learned Additional Sessions Judge confirmed the order of the trial court. The Criminal
Revision Petition filed by the appellant was dismissed by the High Court by the
impugned order. The High Court thus confirmed the conviction and sentence of
have heard learned counsel for the appellant. On 11.3.2011 a statement was made
by learned counsel for the appellant that the appellant has deposited the amount
of compensation i.e. Rs.2,20,000/-. A copy of the money receipt dated 15.11.2010
issued by the JMFC Court, Davanagere was filed in support of the statement. On that
day, fresh notice was issued to the respondent to show-cause why the Special Leave
Petition may not be disposed of by passing appropriate orders at the stage of admission
after hearing both the sides. Despite service of notice, the respondent has neither
appeared before this Court in person nor has he engaged any lawyer. We, therefore,
proceed to dispose of this appeal.
have carefully perused the impugned order. The High Court has confirmed the concurrent
findings of the courts below. The High Court's order cannot be characterized as
perverse. Learned counsel for the appellant was unable to persuade us to take any
other view of the matter. The appellant admitted her signature on the cheque.
She sought time to repay the amount. She did not enter the witness box. In the
circumstances, in our opinion, no interference is necessary with the order of
we find from the record that the appellant is about 51 years of age. She is a
poor widow who is eking out a living for herself and her family by making jowar
rotis and selling them. She is the only earning member of her family. She has two
children to look after. It appears that the appellant is unwell. She is stated to
have suffered from depression.
of today, the appellant has undergone the sentence for a period of about 2=
months before she was released on bail. Considering the fact that the appellant
has deposited the amount of compensation i.e. Rs.2,20,000/- and the fact that the
appellant is a widow and is the only earning member in the family and considering
the fact that though served with notice the respondent has not cared to appear in
this Court, we are of the opinion that sentence already undergone by her should
be treated as a sentence for the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments
Act. Order accordingly. The appellant is on bail. Her bail bond stands
discharged. Needless to say that this order is passed in the peculiar facts and
circumstances of the case.
is disposed of in the aforestated terms.
(RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)