Read Order: Ram Singh v. Tarlok Singh 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 21, 2022: While dealing with a quashing plea seeking quashing of Trial Court’s order treating the cross-examination of the complainant in a cheque bounce case as “Nil”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted one more one effective opportunity to the petitioner-accused to cross-examine the complainant subject to payment of cost of Rs 10,000 to the said complainant. 

The Bench of Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj was dealing with a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing the impugned order whereby the cross-examination of the respondent was treated as “Nil”. 

The said matter stemmed from a Criminal Complaint filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. 

The facts of the matter (from the lense of the petitioner’s Counsel) are such that the aforesaid complaint was instituted by the respondent-complainant against the petitioner alleging the cheque for a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- issued in favour of the respondent-complainant was dishonoured and returned by the bank with the remarks “insufficient funds” 

The proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act,1881 were thereafter instituted wherein the petitioner was summoned and was released on bail. 

The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that during the course of proceedings, when the cross-examination of the respondent was to be held, the Trial Court ordered that the cross-examination of the respondent be treated as Nil. 

Aggrieved thereof the present petition was filed. 

The Counsel contended the absence of cross-examination of the respondent would cause severe prejudice to the petitioner and that it would defeat the ends of justice. He further contended that the default in not conducting the cross-examination was neither intentional nor deliberate and was on account of personal difficulty of the counsel on the date fixed. 

Thus, he prayed for one opportunity to cross-examine the respondent-complaint. 

An undertaking was also given by the petitioner that he was willing to compensate the respondent-complainant with a cost of Rs.10,000/- for unnecessary harassment and delay in the proceedings.

On the other hand, the Counsel for the complainant submitted that he had no objection to the request made by the counsel for the petitioner being accepted subject to payment of cost as offered by the petitioner. 

However, he submitted that as the proceedings remained pending for a period of nearly 4 years, no further indulgence be shown and the trial Court may be directed to conclude the evidence expeditiously.

Having heard counsel appearing on behalf of the respective parties and considering that severe prejudice was likely to result as a consequence of failure on the part of the petitioner-accused to cross-examine the respondent-complainant, the Court directed the grant of one effective opportunity to the petitioner-accused to cross-examine the respondent-complainant subject to payment of cost of Rs. 10,000/- to the respondent-complainant in a time bound manner. 

The parties were directed to appear before the trial Court on a date fixed for cross-examination.

In view of the above, the present petition was allowed.

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