Supreme Court Slams Accused in Cheque Bounce Case, Imposes Rs 5 Lakhs Cost for Ignoring Undertaking to Pay

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Published on: January 6, 2024 at 00:14 IST

The Supreme Court, took a firm stance by upholding the suspension of the sentence for the accused in a Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act case. Despite an undertaking from the appellant and an intervenor to pay a significant portion of the due amount, the Court criticized the prolonged non-payment, stressing its disregard for judicial directives.

Justices Vikram Nath and Rajesh Bindal observed that the complainant had been in litigation since 2007 without receiving the owed amount. They highlighted the accused’s negligent approach toward financial responsibilities and court orders, emphasizing its impact on judicial efficiency.

The case revolved around Satish P. Bhatt and Vishwanath Ramakrishna Nayak, Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of M/s. Astral Glass Private Limited, convicted under Section 138.

The trial court sentenced them to ten months and a combined liability of Rs. 5 crores. Despite appeals to higher courts, including an undertaking during settlement before the High Court, they failed to fulfill the agreed payment of Rs. 4,63,50,000 to the complainant.

Subsequently, the Court withdrew the suspension of sentence and bail due to non-compliance with the undertaking, leading to the appeal’s dismissal with a fine of Rs. 5 lakhs.

The Court directed both the appellant and the intervenor to surrender within four weeks.

Additionally, the Supreme Court mandated that the High Court, while deciding on revisions and pending applications, ensures full compliance with the undertaking and compensates the complainant for any further harassment.

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