Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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  • The Gauhati High Court has stated unequivocally that in cases arising under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the Court's territorial jurisdiction will be where the cheque is delivered for collection. 
  • Justice Robin Phukan went on to say that the NI Act makes no distinction between bearer and cross cheque/account payee cheques for the purposes of jurisdiction. 
  • The remark was made while dealing with a revision petition against a trial court order dismissing the Petitioner's complaint on the grounds that because the petitioner's cheque is a bearer cheque, the court in whose jurisdiction the accused has an account, has jurisdiction.
  • According to the trial court, in the case of a cross cheque or account payee cheque, the court within whose jurisdiction the complainant has an account has jurisdiction, whereas in the case of a bearer cheque, the court within whose jurisdiction the accused has an account has jurisdiction. 
  • Disagreeing with this proposition, the High Court held that a cursory reading of Section 142(2) of the NI Act makes it abundantly clear that no classification of cheque, as bearer or cross cheque/account payee cheque, is made under it. 
  • As a result, no classification of cheque can be made for the purpose of jurisdiction because the Act does not provide for it.
  • In this case, the defendant issued a cheque to the Petitioner, who has a bank account at SBI's Hojai Branch, to discharge a debt. The same was returned dishonoured with an 'account closed' endorsement. 
  • The petitioner, as the holder of the cheque and with an account at the State Bank of India, Hojai Branch, had presented the cheque for collection there. 
  • He received notification of the cheque's dishonour from the State Bank of India, Hojai Branch. Thus, in accordance with section 142(2)(a) of the N.I , the Court at Hojai has jurisdiction to hear the case.
  • As a result, the case was remanded to the lower court with the instruction to proceed in accordance with the law.
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