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Vigneswaran (Lawyer)     05 October 2010

Section 138 of NI act-Moral Turpitude

Whether an offence committed under section 138 involve moral turpitude?


 10 Replies

Radhey (Owner)     05 October 2010

Vigneshwar, Whether it can be proved or not in the court of law, but practically whose cheques are bounced ,they are entitled to pay the amount somehow,otherwise none issues cheque without any dues.

This is what I feel.Such people are morally bankrupt.

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     06 October 2010

Turpitude means a corrupt or depraved or degenerate act or practice. Moral turpitude refers generally to conduct that shocks the public conscience. 

The precise definition of a crime that involves moral turpitude isn't always clear, but the following crimes are always considered crimes of moral turpitude: murder;voluntary manslaughter;rape;statutory rape;domestic violence;prostitution;fraud and crimes where fraud is an element, all theft offenses ;blackmail;malicious destruction of property;arson;alien smuggling;harboring a fugitive;bribery;perjury.

  • So, I think even case under S.138 comes under moral turpitude.

naag (law officer)     06 October 2010

Thats right, i agree with Suchitra.S mam.







Moral Turpitude --A phrase used in criminal law to describe conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.

Crimes involving moral turpitude have an inherent quality of baseness, vileness, or depravity with respect to a person's duty to another or to society in general. Examples include rape, forgery, robbery, and solicitation by prostitutes.

See: Dishonour of cheque - Offence u/s 138 of the Act is both technical as also one involving no moral turpitude. (Mrs.Jain Babu Vs K.J.Joseph ) 2008(4) Civil Court Cases 625 (Kerala) : 2008(4) Criminal Court Cases 722 (Kerala)

pramiladevi (master in arts)     07 October 2010



my husbend brother son , who is a big contractor .aswel as running the finance bussiness.  For his contract he     barrowed    7 lakhsfrom my husbend(retired )out of retirement fund,&promised to repay  the amount with in short period . security for that said amount he gave two blank cheque . now my daughter marraige will be fixed. now we demanding to repay the same. but he is not  answering to our request. though  he is having all the comforts he is not   ready to repaybthe amount .from two years .we requesting him like any thing he will simply gave the date & then he is telling he has no money to repay the amount. now my husbend is 65 years old he is no other sources of income tomeet  the marriage of my daughter..my husband told him we are going to submit the cheque  then u will face the problem. for that his response is like this i closed the account of that bank u are not  able to doany thing  or any law can do any thing for me.now we are badly need of money. what are all the legal procedure to get back our money . kindly i request all my advocate friends toadvise me how to overcome from this problem and guide me


From the facts presented above, I assume you have no other documentary evidence supporting the loan given, For eg a DP note or some sort of written agreement, etc.

I would think that -

1. You should first send him  a registered post letter or a Lawyers notice demanding the loan amount settlement, failing which the cheques given as security wil be presented along with interest ( a lawyer can draft the notice for you);

2.If he does not respond, bank his cheque and proceed u/s.138 of the NI Act.

3.This would be a speedier process than a simple money suit.

4. A good lawyer will be able to get summons issued and force his attendance in court.


I would like to further add to the above through a HC judgement in the case of -State of Tamil Nadu v P.M.Baliappa [ 1984(3) SLR MAD 534], Wherein the Court had held-

"The expressions “moral turpitude or delinquency” are not to receive a narrow construction and it would include a conduct contrary to and opposed to good morals and which is unethical. The said expressions have not found a categorical definition anywhere, but it would include anything done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals and contrary to what a man owes to a fellow man or to society in general. It would imply depravity and wickedness of character or disposition of the person charged with the particular conduct. It may also include an act which shocks the moral conscience of society in general."

A plain reading of the above gives us a good understanding of what should constitute moral terpitude and its effect on society as a whole.  I would not elevate 138 to that level, since the reasons for fasting criminal action to cheque bounce is quite different and  hence chq bounce can not b really bracketed under "Moral Terpitude" as the same covers more henious and far affecting crimes.

naag (law officer)     11 October 2010

hello pramila devi mam,

don't bother about ur issue and u have sufficient remedy with regard. plz let me clarify that whether any demand promissory note executed or not by the other party and plz let me know that was there any witnesses with regard ur whole transaction and aduce evidence in favour of u. mam according to my knowledge u first deposit the same cheques with ur banker for collection that will preserve ur right.

with regards


bhupender sharma (head)     14 October 2010

no not at all.

pramiladevi (master in arts)     15 October 2010

hello sir.

thank u for ur advice.i will do as per ur guidence.

thank u pramiladevi

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