That Section 27 of the General Caluses Act is rebuttable is not relevant here. One has to look at the essence of the law and not be mindlessly read and come to conclusions. Ideally judges should be like the Hrishis of yore and their pronoucements gospels. Unfortunately that is not true. Let me reproduce NI-Section 138 here:
138. Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the accounts
Where any cheque drawn by a person on an account maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money to another person from out of that account for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability, is returned by the bank unpaid, either because of the amount of money standing to the credit of that account is insufficient to honour the cheque or that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid from that account by an agreement made with that bank, such person shall be deemed to have committed an offence and shall without prejudice to any other provisions of this Act, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of the cheque, or with both:
PROVIDED that nothing contained in this section shall apply unless-
(a) the cheque has been presented to the bank within a period of six months from the date on which it is drawn or within the period of its validity, whichever is earlier.
(b) the payee or the holder in due course of the cheque, as the case may be, makes a demand for the payment of the said amount of money by giving a notice, in writing, to the drawer of the cheque, within fifteen days of the receipt of information by him from the bank regarding the return of the cheque as unpaid, and
(c) the drawer of such cheque fails to make the payment of the said amount of money to the payee or, as the case may be, to the holder in due course of the cheque, within fifteen days of the receipt of the said notice.
Sub-section (b) requires the holder in due course of the cheque to make a demand for payment on the drawer of the cheque before going to court against him. Why so?
It is possible that the bouncing of the cheque was due to some inadvertent error or oversight on the part of drawer of the cheque. He should be given an opportunity to correct himself before the Complaint can go to court.
Now for one reason or other the demand notice does not reach the prospective accused. What should the Complainant do? Has he got to give up and resign to his fate? Certainly not. He can go to court and file his compalint.
The court will ask the accused to explain his stand. He can then successfuly or otherwise rebut the presumptions under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act. But will that alone absolve him of his liability under Section 138? He did not receive the demand notice. But now he knows that a demand notice was sent and what that demand notice contained. What should he do? Can he refuse to pay the amount and get away with it. If he refuses to pay even now he has to bear the consequences. If he agrees to pay now but the Complainant claims his pound of flesh under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act, the court will decide.
Now let us see what the Complainant could have done. His notice diappeared like a stone dropped in a well or it was returned in due course with the remarks of the postman "door locked" or any other reason. What should he do? Should he resign to his fate on the ground that Section 27 is rebuttable or go on sending notice after notice until the other party receives one? No one will advise him so.
Leanrned Sr. Advocate Laxminarayan has not explained under what context the Bombay HC made those observations.
The offence under Section 138 is causing the bouncing of the cheque and not refusing or avoiding the receipt of the Registered notice.
The case is one year old. Whatever we say here is only academic.