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Saturday, September 21, 2013

the jurisdiction to entertain a petition filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. = whether the Court within the jurisdiction whereof, the complainant had presented the dishonoured cheque (issued by an accused), had the jurisdiction to entertain a petition filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. = “14. The offence under Section 138 of the Act can be completed only with the concatenation of a number of acts. Following are the acts which are components of the said offence: (1) Drawing of the cheque, (2) Presentation of the cheque to the bank, (3) Returning the cheque unpaid by the drawee bank, (4) Giving notice in writing to the drawer of the cheque demanding payment of the cheque amount, (5) failure of the drawer to make payment within 15 days of the receipt of the notice. 15. It is not necessary that all the above five acts should have been perpetrated at the same locality. It is possible that each of those five acts could be done at 5 different localities. But concatenation of all the above five is a sine qua non for the completion of the offence under Section 138 of the Code. In this context a reference to Section 178(d) of the Code is useful. It is extracted below: “Where the offence consists of several acts done in different local areas, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.” 16. Thus it is clear, if the five different acts were done in five different localities any one of the courts exercising jurisdiction in one of the five local areas can become the place of trial for the offence under Section 138 of the Act. In other words, the complainant can choose any one of those courts having jurisdiction over any one of the local areas within the territorial limits of which any one of those five acts was done. As the amplitude stands so widened and so expansive it is an idle exercise to raise jurisdictional question regarding the offence under Section 138 of the Act.”= We have perused the aforesaid decision of this Court in Harman Electronics Private Limited (Supra) and we find on a reading of paragraphs 11 and 12 of the judgment in the aforesaid case that in that case the issue was as to whether sending of a notice from Delhi itself would give rise to a cause of action for taking cognizance of a case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act when the parties had been carrying on business at Chandigarh, the Head Office of the respondent-complainant was at Delhi but it had a branch at Chandigarh and all the transactions were carried out only from Chandigarh. On these facts, this Court held that Delhi from where the notice under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act was issued by the respondent would not have had jurisdiction to entertain the complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. This question does not arise in the facts of the present case. 7. For the aforesaid reasons, we allow the appeal, set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and remand the matter to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore for decision in accordance with law.” (emphasis is ours) 7. In view of the above, having taken into consideration the factual position noticed by the High Court in paragraph 13 of the impugned judgment, we are of the view, that the High Court erred in concluding that the courts at Delhi, did not have the jurisdiction to try the petition filed by the appellant under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The impugned order dated 27.4.2012 passed by the High Court is accordingly liable to be set aside. The same is, therefore, hereby set aside.

           published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40783
                                                       REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1457    OF 2013
              (Arising out of SLP (Criminal) No. 7325 of 2012)


M/s. Escorts Limited                                      … Appellant

                                   Versus

Rama Mukherjee                                            … Respondent



                               J U D G M E N T


Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.


1.    This Court on 21.2.2013 directed that the instant SLP  (Crl.)  No.7325
of 2012 be listed after the pronouncement of  judgment  in  Criminal  Appeal
no. 808 of 2013 (arising out  of  SLP  (Crl.)  No.  9434  of  2011),  titled
Nishant Aggarwal vs. Kailash Kumar Sharma.  Nishant Aggarwal’s case  (supra)
was disposed of by this Court on  1.7.2013.   The  pointed  question,  which
arose  for  consideration  in  this  Court’s  aforesaid  determination  was,
whether the Court within  the  jurisdiction  whereof,  the  complainant  had presented  the  dishonoured  cheque  (issued  by  an   accused),   had   the jurisdiction to  entertain  a  petition  filed  under  Section  138  of  the Negotiable Instruments Act.  
While  disposing  Criminal  Appeal  No.808  of
2013, this Court returned a finding  in  the  affirmative  by  observing  as
under:

      “(7)    We have  already  narrated  the  case  of  both  the   parties
      in  the pleadings portion.  In order to answer the only  question,  it
      is relevant  to note that the undisputed  facts  in  the  context   of
      territorial  jurisdiction of the learned  Magistrate  at  Bhiwani  are
      that  the  drawee  of  the  cheque i.e., the respondent/complainant is
       a  resident  of  Bhiwani.   The  native village  of  the  respondent,
      namely, village Barsana  is  situated   in   District  Bhiwani.    The
      respondent  owns  ancestral  agricultural  land  at  village  Barsana,
      District Bhiwani.  It is  also  asserted  that   the   respondent   is
      running his bank  account  with  Canara  Bank,  Bhiwani  and  is  also
      residing  at the present address for the last about two  decades.   In
      view  of  the  same, it  is  the  claim  of  the  respondent  that  he
      bonafidely  presented  the  cheque in his bank at  Bhiwani  which  was
      further presented to the drawer’s  Bank  at Guwahati.  The cheque  was
      returned uncashed  to  the  respondent’s  bank  at  Bhiwani  with  the
      endorsement “payment stopped  by  drawer”.  The   respondent  received
      the bounced cheque back from his bank at  Bhiwani.   Thereafter,   the
      respondent sent a legal notice under Section 138 of   the   N.I.   Act
      to  the appellant from Bhiwani.  In turn, the appellant sent a   reply
      to  the  said notice which the respondent  received  at  Bhiwani.   In
      view of non-payment  of the cheque  amount,  the  respondent  filed  a
      complaint under Sections  138  and 141 of  the  N.I.  Act  before  the
      learned Magistrate at Bhiwani.

      (8)    Inasmuch as the issue in question  is  directly  considered  by
        this  Court  in  K.  Bhaskaran  (supra),  before  going   into   the
      applicability of other decisions, it is useful to refer  the  relevant
      portion of the judgment  in paras 10 and 11 of  the  said  case  which
      reads thus:

           “10.  Learned counsel for the appellant first contended that the
            trial  court has no jurisdiction to try  this  case  and  hence
           the  High  Court  should not  have   converted   the   acquittal
           into  conviction  on  the strength of the evidence collected  in
           such a  trial.  Of  course,  the       trial  court  had  upheld
           the    pleas    of    the    accused    that    it    had     no
           jurisdiction to try the case.

           11.   We fail to comprehend as to how the trial court could have
           found so regarding the jurisdiction question. Under Section  177
           of the Code “every offence shall ordinarily be enquired into and
           tried in a court within whose jurisdiction  it  was  committed”.
           The locality where the Bank (which dishonoured  the  cheque)  is
           situated cannot be regarded as the sole criterion  to  determine
           the place of offence.  It must be remembered that offence  under
           Section 138 would not be completed with  the  dishonour  of  the
           cheque.  It  attains  completion  only  with  the failure of the
           drawer of the cheque to pay  the   cheque   amount   within  the
           expiry of 15 days mentioned  in  clause  (c)  of   the   proviso
           to Section 138 of  the  Act.  It is normally  difficult  to  fix
            up  a particular locality as the place of failure  to  pay  the
           amount  covered by the cheque. A place, for that purpose,  would
           depend upon a variety of factors. It can either be at the  place
           where the drawer resides   or  at  the  place  where  the  payee
           resides or at the place  where   either   of  them  carries   on
           business.  Hence,  the  difficulty  to  fix  up  any  particular
           locality as the place  of  occurrence  for  the  offence   under
           Section 138 of the Act.”

      It is clear that this Court also discussed  the  relevant   provisions
      of  the Code, particularly, Sections 177, 178 and  179  and   in   the
      light  of  the language used, interpreted Section 138 of the N.I.  Act
      and  laid  down  that Section 138 has five components, namely,


           i)    drawing of the cheque;
           ii)   presentation of the cheque to the bank;
           iii)  returning the cheque unpaid by the drawee bank;
           iv) giving notice in  writing  to  the  drawer  of   the  cheque
               demanding payment of the cheque amount; and
           v)  failure of the drawer to make payment within 15 days of  the
                receipt of the notice.


      After saying so, this Court concluded that the complainant can  choose
      any one  of  the  five  places  to  file  a  complaint.   The  further
      discussion in the said judgment is extracted hereunder:

               “14.    The offence under Section  138  of  the  Act  can  be
               completed only  with the concatenation of a number  of  acts.
               The following are the acts which are components of  the  said
               offence:

                 (1)   drawing of  the  cheque,
                 (2)   presentation of the cheque to the bank,
                 (3)   returning  the  cheque unpaid by the drawee bank,
                 (4)   giving notice in writing to the  drawer of the cheque
                       demanding payment of the cheque amount,
                 (5)   failure  of the drawer to  make  payment  within   15
                       days  of  the  receipt  of  the notice.


               15.     It is not necessary that  all  the  above  five  acts
               should have  been  perpetrated at the same  locality.  It  is
               possible that  each  of  those five  acts   could   be   done
               at  five  different  localities.  But   a       concatenation
               of all the  above  five  is  a   sine   qua   non   for   the
               completion of the offence under Section  138  of  the   Code.
               In this  context a reference to Section 178(d) of the Code is
               useful.  It is     extracted below:

                  “178. (a)-(c)    *     *     *


                 (d) where the offence consists  of  several  acts  done  in
                 different local  areas, it may be enquired into or tried by
                 a court  having   jurisdiction   over  any  of  such  local
                 areas.”


               16.     Thus it is clear, if the five different  acts   were
               done  in  five different localities any one  of  the  courts
               exercising jurisdiction  in one of the five local areas  can
               become the   place   of   trial   for   the   offence  under
               Section 138 of the Act. In other words, the complainant  can
               choose any one of those courts having jurisdiction over  any
               one of the local areas within  the  territorial  limits   of
               which  any  one  of   those  five  acts  was  done.  As  the
               amplitude stands so  widened  and  so  expansive  it  is  an
               idle   exercise    to    raise    jurisdictional    question
               regarding the offence under Section 138 of the Act.”




      (9)    Para 11 of K. Bhaskaran (supra), as quoted above, clarified the
       place in the context  of  territorial   jurisdiction   as   per   the
      fifth  component, namely, “failure of  the drawer  to   make   payment
      within  15  days  of  the receipt.”  As   rightly   pointed   out   by
      learned  senior  counsel  for  the respondent, the place  of   failure
      to  pay  the  amount  has  been  clearly qualified by  this  Court  as
      the place where the drawer resides or   the   place  where  the  payee
      resides.  In view of the same and in the light  of  the  law laid down
      by this Court in K.Bhaskaran (supra), we are of  the  view  that   the
      learned Magistrate at  Bhiwani   has   territorial   jurisdiction   to
      try  the complaint filed by the  respondent  as  the   respondent   is
      undisputedly   a  resident  of  Bhiwani.   Further,  in  K.  Bhaskaran
      (supra),  while  considering the  territorial  jurisdiction  at  great
      length, this Court has concluded  that the  amplitude  of  territorial
      jurisdiction pertaining to  a  complaint  under the N.I. Act  is  very
      wide and expansive and we are in entire agreement  with the same.
                    ***              ***              ***


      (12)   Mr. Ahmadi, learned senior counsel for the appellant has   also
      relied on a decision of this  Court  in  Harman  Electronics   Private
      Limited  and Another vs. National  Panasonic  India  Private  Limited,
      (2009) 1 SCC 720.   In Harman Electronics (supra), the complainant and
      the accused entered into a business transaction.  The  accused  was  a
      resident of Chandigarh. He  carried on  the  business  in   Chandigarh
      and  issued  a  cheque  in  question   at Chandigarh.  The complainant
      had a Branch Office at Chandigarh although  his  Head  Office  was  at
      Delhi.  He presented the cheque given by the  accused  at  Chandigarh.
      The cheque was dishonoured at Chandigarh.   The complainant  issued  a
      notice upon the accused asking him to pay the amount from  New  Delhi.
      The said notice was served on the accused at Chandigarh.   On  failure
      on the part of the accused to pay the amount within 15 days  from  the
      date of the communication of the said letter, the complainant filed  a
      complaint at Delhi.  In the complaint, it was stated that  the   Delhi
      Court has jurisdiction to try the case because the   complainant   was
      carrying  on business at Delhi, the  demand  notice  was  issued  from
      Delhi,  the  amount  of cheque was payable at Delhi  and  the  accused
      failed to make  the  payment  of the said cheque within the  statutory
      period of 15  days  from  the  date  of  receipt  of  notice.   It  is
      further seen that the cognizance of  the  offence  was  taken  by  the
      learned Magistrate at Delhi.  The accused questioned the  jurisdiction
      of the Magistrate at Delhi  before  the  Addl.   Sessions  Judge,  New
      Delhi.  The Sessions  Judge  held  that  the   Magistrate   at   Delhi
      had jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as, admittedly, the notice
       was  sent by the complainant  to  the  accused  from  Delhi  and  the
      complainant was   having  its  Registered  Office  at  Delhi  and  was
      carrying on business at  Delhi.   The learned Judge has also  observed
      that the accused failed to make payment at Delhi  as  the  demand  was
      made from Delhi and the payment was to be made to the  complainant  at
      Delhi.  The Delhi High Court  dismissed  the  petition  filed  by  the
      accused.  Thereafter, the accused approached this Court.   This  Court
      considered Section 138 of the  N.I.   Act   and   also   referred   to
      K.Bhaskaran’s case (supra) and quoted the five components of   offence
      under Section  138  which  have  been  noted   in   paragraph   supra.
      This   Court reiterated that the five different  acts  which  are  the
      components of  offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act were done  in
      five   different   localities,  any  one  of  the  courts   exercising
      jurisdiction  in  one  of  the  five  local areas can become the place
      of trial for the offence  under  Section  138  of the N.I. Act and the
      complainant would be at liberty to file a complaint  at any  of  those
      places.  Ultimately, this Court held that the  Chandigarh   Court  had
      jurisdiction  to  entertain  the   complaint   because   the   parties
      were carrying on  business  at  Chandigarh,  Branch  Office   of   the
      complainant  was also in Chandigarh, the transactions were carried  on
      only  from  Chandigarh and the cheque  was  issued  and  presented  at
      Chandigarh.  This Court pointed out that the complaint  did  not  show
      that the cheque was presented at  Delhi,  because  it  was  absolutely
      silent in that regard and, therefore,  there  was  no  option  but  to
      presume that the cheque was presented at Chandigarh.   It  is  not  in
      dispute that the dishonour  of  the  cheque   also   took   place   at
      Chandigarh and, therefore, the only question which arose before   this
      Court for consideration was whether the sending of notice  from  Delhi
      itself  would give rise to a cause  of  action  in  taking  cognizance
      under the N.I. Act.   In such circumstances, we are of the  view  that
      Harman  Electronics  (supra)  is only an  authority  on  the  question
      where  a  court  will  have   jurisdiction  because  only  notice   is
      issued  from  the  place  which  falls  within  its  jurisdiction  and
      it does not deviate  from  the  other  principles  laid  down   in  K.
      Bhaskaran (supra).  This Court has accepted that the place  where  the
      cheque was presented and  dishonoured  has  jurisdiction  to  try  the
      complaint.  In this  way,  this  Court  concluded  that  issuance   of
      notice  would  not  by itself give rise to a cause   of   action   but
      communication  of  the  notice  would.   In  other  words,  the  court
      clarified only  on  the  service  in  such notice and failure  on  the
      part of the accused to  pay  the  demanded  amount within a period  of
      15  days,  thereafter,  the  commission  of   an   offence  completes.
      We are of  the  view   that   this   Court   in   Harman   Electronics
      (supra) affirmed what it had said in K. Bhaskaran (supra)  that  court
      within whose  jurisdiction  the  cheque  is  presented  and  in  whose
      jurisdiction  there is failure to make payment within 15 days  of  the
      receipt of notice can  have jurisdiction  to  try  the  offence  under
      Section 138 of the N.I.  Act.   It  is also relevant to point out that
      while holding that the Chandigarh Court  has jurisdiction, this  Court
      in Harman Electronics (supra) observed that in  the  case  before  it,
      the complaint was silent as to whether the said  cheque  was presented
      at Delhi.  In the case on hand, it is  categorically  stated  that the
      cheque was  presented  at  Bhiwani  whereas  in   Harman   Electronics
      (supra) the dishonour had taken place at  Chandigarh  and  this   fact
      was  taken  into account while  holding  that  Chandigarh  court   has
      jurisdiction.  In  the  complaint  in  question,  it  is  specifically
      stated  that  the  dishonour  took place at Bhiwani.   We   are   also
      satisfied  that  nothing  said  in   Harman  Electronics  (supra)  had
      adverse impact on  the  complainant’s  case   in   the  present  case.



      (13)      As observed  earlier,  we must note  that  in  K.  Bhaskaran
      (supra), this Court  has  held  that  Section  178  of  the  Code  has
      widened the scope of jurisdiction of  a  criminal  court  and  Section
      179 of the Code has stretched   it   to   still   a   wider   horizon.
      Further, for  the  sake  of  repetition,   we   reiterate   that   the
      judgment  in Ishar Alloy (supra) does  not  affect  the  ratio  in  K.
      Bhaskaran  (supra)   which  provides  jurisdiction  at  the  place  of
      residence of the payer and the  payee. We are satisfied  that  in  the
      facts and circumstances  and  even  on  merits, the High Court rightly
      refused to exercise  its  extraordinary   jurisdiction  under  Section
      482 of the  Code   and   dismissed   the   petition   filed   by   the
      appellant-accused.

      (14)   In the light of the above discussion, we hold  that  the  ratio
      laid down in K.Bhaskaran (supra) squarely applies to the case on hand.
       The said principle was correctly  applied  by  the  learned  Sessions
      Judge  as  well  as the High Court.  Consequently,  the  appeal  fails
      and the same is dismissed. In view of the dismissal of the appeal, the
      interim  order  granted  by  this  Court  on  09.12.2011  shall  stand
      vacated.”

                                                          (emphasis is ours)

2.    Leave granted.

3.    We have heard learned counsel for the rival parties.  The  reason  for
posting the instant  matter  for  hearing  after  the  disposal  of  Nishant
Aggarwal’s case (supra)  was,  that  the  controversy  arising  herein,  was
exactly the same as was sought to be determined by  this  court  in  Nishant
Aggarwal’s case (supra).  The factual position necessary  for  the  disposal
of the instant Civil Appeal, was noticed in paragraph  13  of  the  impugned
order, passed by  the  Delhi  High  Court.   The  same  is  being  extracted
hereunder:
      “13.  Thus M/s Religare Finvest (supra) relied on  by  the  Petitioner
      was a  case  where  even  the  drawer  bank’s  clearing  branch  which
      dishonoured the cheque was also situated at New Delhi.   In  the  said
      case, the jurisdiction was vested in the Courts at  Delhi  because  of
      the drawer’s bank’s clearing branch being at Delhi and not because the
      cheque was presented in the payee bank or that  the  legal  notice  of
      demand was issued from a  place  at  Delhi.   Applying  the  decisions
      aforementioned to the facts of the present case, I do not consider  it
      fit to state that just because the cheques were presented at Delhi  or
      the demand notice was sent from Delhi,  Courts  at  Delhi  would  have
      jurisdiction to try the present case.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

4.     Having  taken  into  consideration  the  fact  that  the  cheque  was
presented for encashment by the complainant at Delhi,  and  having  referred
to the judgments rendered by  this  Court  in  K.  Bhaskaran  vs.  Shankaran
Vaidhyam Balan & Anr., (1999) 7 SCC 510, Shri Ishar Alloys Steels  Ltd.  Vs.
Jayaswal NECO Ltd., (2003) 3 SCC 609, and Harman  Electronics  Private  Ltd.
Vs. National Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd., (2009) 1 SCC 720,   the  High  Court
accepted the prayer made by the drawee of the cheque  (i.e.  the  respondent
herein) to conclude, that the Courts at Delhi did not have the  jurisdiction
to try the complaint filed by  the  appellant,  under  Section  138  of  the
Negotiable  Instruments  Act.   Having  so   concluded,   the   Metropolitan
Magistrate before whom the matter was pending, was directed  to  return  the
complaint to the respondent.  Liberty was granted to the appellant, to  file
the returned petition before the jurisdictional Court at Kolkata.

5.    It is apparent, that the conclusion drawn by the High  Court,  in  the
impugned order dated 27.4.2012, is  not  in  consonance  with  the  decision
rendered by this Court in Nishant Aggarwal’s case (supra).  Therein  it  has
been  concluded,  that  the  Court  within  the  jurisdiction  whereof,  the
dishonoured  cheque  was  presented   for   encashment,   would   have   the
jurisdiction to entertain the complaint  filed  under  Section  138  of  the
Negotiable Instruments Act.

6.    In addition  to  the  judgment  rendered  by  this  Court  in  Nishant
Aggarwal’s case, another bench  of  this  Court  has  also  arrived  at  the
conclusion drawn in Nishant Aggarwal’s case,  on  the  pointed  issue  under
consideration.  In this behalf,  reference  may  be  made  to  the  decision
rendered in FIL Industries Limited vs. Imtiyaz Ahmed Bhat,  Criminal  Appeal
No. 1168 of 2013 (arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.8096  of  2012),  decided  on
12.8.2013.  This Court in the above matter held as under:

      “3.   The facts very briefly  are  that  the  respondent  delivered  a
      cheque dated 23rd December, 2010 for an amount of  `29,69,746/-(Rupees
      Twenty Nine lakhs sixty nine thousand seven hundred forty six only) on
      Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited, Branch Imam  Saheb,  Shopian,  to  the
      appellant towards some business dealings and the  appellant  deposited
      the same in UCO Bank, Sopore.  When the cheque amount was not encashed
      and collected in the account of the appellant in UCO Bank Sopore,  the
      appellant filed a  complaint  under  Section  138  of  the  Negotiable
      Instruments Act, 1881 before the Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,  Sopore.
      The respondent sought dismissal of the complaint on  the  ground  that
      the Chief Judicial  Magistrate  had  no  territorial  jurisdiction  to
      entertain the complaint.  By order  dated  29th  November,  2011,  the
      learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sopore, however, held that  he  had
      the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.  Aggrieved, the appellant
      filed Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 431 of  2011  under  Section
      561A of the Jammu and Kashmir  Criminal  Procedure  Code  and  by  the
      impugned order dated 2nd  June,  2012,  the  High  Court  quashed  the
      complaint saying that the Court  at  Sopore  had  no  jurisdiction  to
      receive and entertain the complaint.


      4.    We have heard learned counsel for the parties and we  find  that
      in K.Bhaskaran v. Sankaran Vidyabalan and Another, (1999) 7  SCC  510,
      this Court had the occasion to consider as to which Court  would  have
      the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint under Section 138  of  the
      Negotiable Instruments Act and in paras 14, 15 and 16 of the  judgment
      in the aforesaid case held as under:-

           “14.  The offence under Section 138 of the Act can be  completed
           only with the concatenation of a number of acts.  Following  are
           the acts which are components of the said offence:  (1)  Drawing
           of the cheque, (2) Presentation of the cheque to the  bank,  (3)
           Returning the cheque unpaid  by  the  drawee  bank,  (4)  Giving
           notice in writing to the drawer of the cheque demanding  payment
           of the cheque amount, (5) failure of the drawer to make  payment
           within 15 days of the receipt of the notice.


           15.   It is not necessary that all the above  five  acts  should
           have been perpetrated at the same locality. It is possible  that
           each of those five acts could be done at 5 different localities.
           But concatenation of all the above five is a sine  qua  non  for
           the completion of the offence under Section 138 of the Code.  In
           this context a reference  to  Section  178(d)  of  the  Code  is
           useful. It is extracted below:


                 “Where  the  offence  consists  of  several  acts  done  in
                 different local areas, it may be inquired into or tried  by
                 a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.”


           16.   Thus it is clear, if the five different acts were done  in
           five different localities  any  one  of  the  courts  exercising
           jurisdiction in one of the five local areas can become the place
           of trial for the offence under Section 138 of the Act. In  other
           words, the complainant can choose any one of those courts having
           jurisdiction  over  any  one  of  the  local  areas  within  the
           territorial limits of which any one of those five acts was done.
           As the amplitude stands so widened and so  expansive  it  is  an
           idle exercise to raise  jurisdictional  question  regarding  the
           offence under Section 138 of the Act.”


      5.    It will be clear from the aforesaid paragraphs of  the  judgment
      in K. Bhaskaran’s case (Supra) that five different  acts  compose  the
      offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and if any
      one of these five different acts was done in  a   particular  locality
      the Court having territorial jurisdiction on that locality can  become
      the place of trial for the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable
      Instruments Act and, therefore, the complainant can choose any one  of
      those courts having jurisdiction over any one of the local area within
      the territorial limits of which any one of the five acts was done.  
In
      the facts of the present case, it is not disputed that the cheque  was
      presented to the UCO Bank at Sopore in  which  the  appellant  had  an
      account  and,  therefore  the  Court   at   Sopore   had   territorial
      jurisdiction to entertain and try the complaint.

      6.    Learned counsel for  the  respondent,  however,  relied  on  the
      decision of this Court  in  Harman  Electronics  Private  Limited  and
      Another v. National Panasonic India Private Limited   to  submit  that
      the Court at Shopian would have the territorial jurisdiction.
We have
      perused the aforesaid decision of this  Court  in  Harman  Electronics
      Private Limited (Supra) and we find on a reading of paragraphs 11  and
      12 of the judgment in the aforesaid case that in that case  the  issue
      was as to 
whether sending of a notice from  Delhi  itself  would  give
      rise to a cause of action  for  taking  cognizance  of  a  case  under
      Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act  when  the  parties  had
      been carrying on business  at  Chandigarh,  the  Head  Office  of  the
      respondent-complainant was at Delhi but it had a branch at  Chandigarh
      and all the transactions were carried out only  from  Chandigarh.   On
      these facts, this Court held that Delhi from where  the  notice  under
      Section 138 of the  Negotiable  Instruments  Act  was  issued  by  the
      respondent would not have had jurisdiction to entertain the  complaint
      under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments  Act.   
This  question
      does not arise in the facts of the present case.


      7.    For the aforesaid reasons, we allow the appeal,  set  aside  the
      impugned judgment of the High Court and remand the matter to the Chief
      Judicial Magistrate, Sopore for decision in accordance with law.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

7.    In view of the above, having  taken  into  consideration  the  factual
position noticed  by  the  High  Court  in  paragraph  13  of  the  impugned
judgment, we are of the view, that the High Court erred in  concluding  that
the courts at Delhi, did not have  the  jurisdiction  to  try  the  petition
filed by the appellant under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments  Act.
 The impugned order dated 27.4.2012 passed by the High Court is  accordingly
liable to be set aside.  The same is, therefore, hereby set aside.

8.    Despite the conclusion drawn by us hereinabove, it would  be  relevant
to mention, that our instant determination is based on the factual  position
expressed by the High Court in paragraph 13 of the impugned  order.   
During
the course of hearing, whilst it was the case of  the  learned  counsel  for
the appellant (based on certain documents  available  on  the  file  of  the
present case) to reiterate that  the  cheque  in  question,  which  was  the
subject matter of the appellant’s claim under Section 138 of the  Negotiable
Instruments  Act,  was  presented  for  encashment  at  Delhi;  
it  was  the
contention of the learned counsel for the  respondent,  that  the  aforesaid
cheque was presented  for  encashment  at  Faridabad.   It  was  accordingly
submitted, that the jurisdictional issue needed to be decided by  accepting,
that the dishonoured cheque was presented at Faridabad.  
It is not  possible
for us to entertain and adjudicate upon a disputed  question  of  fact.   We
have rendered the instant decision,  on  the  factual  position  taken  into
consideration by the High Court.  
In  case,  the  respondent  herein  is  so
advised, it would be open to him to raise  an  objection  on  the  issue  of
jurisdiction, based on a factual  position  now  asserted  before  us.   The
determination rendered by us must be deemed to be on  the  factual  position
taken into consideration by the  High  Court  (in  paragraph  13,  extracted
above),  while  disposing  of  the  issue  of  jurisdiction.   In  case  the
respondent raises such a plea, the same shall be  entertained  and  disposed
of in accordance with law.

9.    Allowed in the aforesaid terms.

                                                          ……………………………...,CJI
                                                             (P. Sathasivam)



                                                           ………………………………..,J.
                                                      (Jagdish Singh Khehar)
New Delhi;
September 17, 2013.


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