‘Spelling mistake itself cannot render the legal notice as null and void’: Delhi HC dismisses petition seeking quashing of summoning order in cheque bounce case
Justice Navin Chawla [01-05-2024]




Tulip Kanth


New Delhi, June 12, 2024: While imposing cost of Rs 15,000 on the petitioners, the Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition seeking quashing of order summoning the petitioners as accused in the complaint filed by the respondent under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.


The respondent alleged that the petitioners are in the business of trading in all kinds of gold jewellery and have business dealing with the respondent. It was alleged that the petitioner nos.2 and 3 are the partners of the petitioner no.1 firm, who were the signatories of the cheques issued to the respondent, and were also responsible for day-today affairs of the firm.


It was alleged that an agreement was executed between the respondent and the petitioners on 31.12.2018, wherein the respondent had agreed to give gold jewellery on credit basis to the petitioners. The petitioners had agreed to issue post-dated cheques to the respondent by keeping 15 days average time from the date of receipt of gold jewellery /article from the respondent. The respondent had given gold jewellery of 22 carats, weighing 1083.040 grams, on credit basis to the petitioners, amounting Rs 38,34,000 for which, the petitioners had issued two post-dated cheques to the respondent. The cheques when deposited were, however, returned back with the remarks "fund insufficient".


The respondent then claimed to have issued a legal notice dated to the petitioners claiming the amount of the cheques. The petitioner had approached the Delhi High Court by filing a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) challenging the Order of the Metropolitan Magistrate summoning the petitioners herein as accused in the complaint filed by the respondent under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.


The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla opined that the legal notice in terms of Proviso (b) of Section 138 of the NI Act had been issued to the petitioner no. 1 firm, though with a spelling mistake of ‘Bengals’ as against ‘Bangles’. 


“This spelling mistake itself cannot render the legal notice as null and void or as being without any effect. The petitioners for the above spelling mistake, cannot claim a defect in the legal notice or claim that no legal notice was issued to it. The above spelling mistake has also been made by the respondent in the complaint. However, again, the petitioners cannot claim that the petitioner no. 1 is a different firm than the accused no. 1”, the Bench said.


With regard to the plea that the petitioner firm is registered at Delhi while the legal notice has been served on the firm at Saharanpur is concerned, the Bench noted that the two partners of the petitioner no.1 firm, that is, the petitioner nos.2 and 3 are residents of Saharanpur. The respondent may not have been aware that the firm has, however, been registered at Delhi. On this issue, the Bench further said, “The petitioner is not to seek registration details of the partnership firm before instituting the complaint. In any case, this is a matter to be considered by the learned Trial Court once the evidence is led before it. It cannot be a ground for scuttling the complaint at this stage.”


On the plea of the petitioners that the legal notice had not been served on them, the Bench observed that the respondent, in the complaint, had clearly stated that the notice was duly served on the petitioners. The tracking report was annexed along with original postal receipts. In any case, this was again held to be a matter of evidence which couldn’t be agitated in the present petition.


Thus, finding no merit in the petition, the Bench dismissed the same with costs quantified as Rs 15,000 to be deposited with Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee within a period of four weeks.

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