True Court CopyTM English


Criminal Appeal No. 123 of 2021 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 1876 of 2018)

Decided On: 10.02.2021

Appellants: Kalamani Tex and Ors. Vs. Respondent: P. Balasubramanian

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose


Surya Kant, J.

1. Leave Granted.

2. M/s. Kalamani Tex (Appellant No. 1) and its managing partner-B. Subramanian (Appellant No. 2) are in appeal challenging the judgment dated 09.11.2017 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras, whereby the order of acquittal of the Judicial Magistrate, Tiruppur was reversed and the Appellants have been convicted Under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (in short, 'NIA'). Consequently, Appellant No. 2 has been sentenced to undergo three months Simple Imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000/-.


3. The instant proceedings have originated out of a complaint preferred by P. Balasubramanian (Complainant-Respondent) against the Appellants. The Respondent is the proprietor of a garment company named and styled as 'Growell International', which along with Appellant No. 1 was engaged in a business arrangement, whereby they agreed to jointly export garments to France. Certain issues arose regarding delays in shipment and payment from the buyer, due to which, the Appellants had to pay the Respondent a sum of Rs. 11.20 lakhs. To that end, Appellant No. 2 issued a cheque on behalf of Appellant No. 1 bearing No. 897993 dated 07.11.2000 in favour of the Respondent and also executed a Deed of Undertaking on the same day wherein Appellant No. 2 personally undertook to pay the Respondent in lieu of the initial expenditure incurred by the latter. The Respondent presented the said cheque to the bank on 29.12.2000 for collection but it was returned with an endorsement that there were insufficient funds in the account of Appellants. In wake of the cheque being dishonoured, the Respondent issued a notice dated 08.01.2001 asking the Appellants to pay the amount within 15 days. The Appellants in their reply dated 27.01.2001 denied their liability and claimed that blank cheques and signed blank stamp papers were issued to help the Respondent in some debt recovery proceedings, and not because of any legally enforceable debt.

4. The Respondent then lodged a private complaint Under Section 138 and 142 of the NIA read with Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short 'CrPC') before the Judicial Magistrate, Tiruppur. In order to substantiate his claim, the Respondent himself entered the witness box and produced documentary evidence such as the cheque issued by Appellant No. 2. The Respondent in his chief-examination initially contended that the subject amount had been received by the Appellants from the foreign buyer. However, when recalled on a later date, the Respondent produced the Deed of Undertaking dated 07.11.2000, whereunder, the 2nd Appellant had acknowledged the liability towards Respondent. One PS Shanmugham (PW-2) who was working as Manager in State Bank of India, Tiruppur Overseas Branch, was also examined by the Respondent.

5. Appellant No. 2 in his statement Under Section 313 Code o........