Read Order- Vikas Sandhu v. Hardip Singh Aulakh & Others

LE Staff

Chandigarh, September 13, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana HC has dismissed a revision petition and directed that the petitioner, who has been found guilty for committing the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881,and was extended the relief of interim bail, be taken into the custody for completing/undergoing the remaining part of the sentence as awarded to him.

Aggrieved by the judgment and the order on sentence passed by the Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Chandigarh (Trial Court) whereby the revisionist petitioner was held guilty for committing the offence under Section 138 and was sentenced to undergo the imprisonment for one year and also to pay the compensation to the tune of Rs.30 lacs and also the judgment handed down by the Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh (Appellate Court) dismissing the Criminal Appeal preferred by him to assail the said judgment and order on sentence, the petitioner had chosen to prefer the instant revision petition.

Herein,the allegations as levelled by the complainants-respondents against the petitioner, were that he took the total amount of Rs.30 lacs from them while promising to arrange for their Visa and immigration to Canada and also issued the receipt qua the said amount with an undertaking to fulfil the said promise by the stipulated date but however, he failed to do the needful in this regard and also expressed his inability to repay the said amount and rather, he issued a cheque towards the refund of the same but when presented in the Bank, this cheque was dishonoured due to “insufficient funds” in the concerned bank account.

The complainants then, preferred a Complaint Case under Section 138 against the petitioner and his wife and the trial Court passed the impugned judgment holding the petitioner guilty for committing the offence under the said provisions and awarding the above-mentioned punishment to him while acquitting his wife, of the said offence.

The Petitioner contended that the fourth complainant remained employed with the petitioner and during his stint as such, he had stolen the blank letter-head as well as the blank cheque, signed by the petitioner, from his (petitioner’s) office and the same had been misused by the complainants and moreover, the cheque in question was issued in favour of fourth complainant Gurvinder Singh only and therefore, there was misjoinder of first to third complainants in the Complaint Case.

The thrust of the petitioner’s contentions was to emphasize that the afore-said cheque had allegedly been issued by “Sandhu Builders” whereas the petitioner was running an Immigration Consultation Company under the name and style of “Passionate Immigration Consultation Private Limited” and the Trial Court as well as the Appellate Court had not appreciated the above-discussed facts in the right perspective and in these circumstances, the impugned judgment handed down by these Courts were not legally sustainable.

On the contrary, from the complainants’ and UT’s side it was argued that all the aforeraised contentions had been elaborately discussed and dealt with by both the Courts in their respective judgments and this revision petition was devoid of any merit and hence, the same be dismissed.

Now deciding upon the petitioner’s grievance, the Bench of Justice Meenakshi I. Mehta stated that both the Courts had not found the above-discussed version of the petitioner to be trust-worthy.

The Bench also noted that the contention of the petitioner qua the blank letter-head as well as the blank cheque, both signed by the petitioner, having been stolen by the fourth complainant during his tenure as an employee of the petitioner and the same having been misused by the complainants was concerned, it was worth-while to mention that both the Courts below had observed in their respective impugned judgments that the petitioner had not even lodged a complaint against the said complainant with the police in this regard and the Appellate Court had also categorically observed that although he (petitioner) had moved a petition before this Court which was disposed of but however, none of the complainants had been arrayed as party in the said petition.

The Court also added that it had also been specifically held by both the Courts below that the petitioner did not deny his signatures on the said receipt as well as the cheque. It being so, the contention as raised by the petitioner qua the misjoinder of first to third complainants in the Complaint Case paled into insignificance.

The Bench also found that in the impugned judgments it was observed that “Sandhu Builders” is a Proprietorship Firm and the present petitioner is the proprietor thereof and the income tax returns for the said Firm were also filed by him and therefore, he (petitioner) could have issued the cheque of the above-said Firm to discharge his legal liability towards some other account.

The Court, thus, concluded that the impugned judgments and the order on sentence handed down by both the Courts below did not suffer from any illegality, infirmity, perversity or irregularity so as to warrant any interference by this Court. It being so, the revision petition in hand, being sans any merit, stood dismissed.

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