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PRIME MINISTER’S RELIEF FUND & THE RTI ACT.

Section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act states that every public authority shall publish the particulars of its organization, functions and duties, the powers and duties of its officers and employees, the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability, the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions, the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions ,a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control, the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof, a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public, a directory of its officers and employees, the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations, the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made, the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes, particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it, details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form, the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use, the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers and such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year.
In the case of Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. CPIO ( [2013] CIC 12093) which was decided on August 12, 2013 it was held that The details of the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund with respect to the individuals receiving assistance to it shall continue to be treated as personal information and will not be disclosed under RTI Act. It was also mentioned by the court that since the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund does not receive any budgetary assistance from the Central Government or, from any of the Central Government public undertakings and is fully made of voluntary donations given by individual citizens or private bodies. Hence, the assistance provided from this fund cannot be treated as a subsidy like the other subsidies. It was also advocated that since the individuals receiving the assistance treated this as a private document hence, the question of public display stands nowhere, here. This could have come under the purview of RTI ACT Sec. 4 1(b) only when the funding would have been from the funds of the Central Government. Thus, the petition by a RTI activist was rejected.
Information Courtesy : Supreme Court Cases.

I am a small town girl.

I am a NLUite. My mother is an Aanganbaadi Sewika and my father is a businessman. My parents barely earn rupees 20,000 a month.  They any how manage to cope up with my expenses. Numerous students across the nation have their stories similar to this one. The problem which now lies is not expenditures, but expenditure in education.

The role of government or, an administering body is to ensure the maximum welfare of its population. Now, when we are in an era where education is a need from which we cannot avoid; we need a security in education. Undoubtedly, various schemes run throughout the country which makes education possible to everyone at the school level. Also the Central Universities, maintain a low fees for its students. But, when we come to premier institutions like IITs, NLUs, NIFTs and IIMs, what scares us is the fee structure. This fee structure demands for more and more, and obviously the supply is made.

The Supreme Court of India has cleared a ruling according to which the professional colleges across the nation will observe a fee hike. Consequently, this year there was a 48% fee hike in NIFT and the fee structure at IIT climbed to 90,000 per annum. Some other colleges also observed a hike of 40-50%. Now, this has put a burden equally on the students and their guardians. Both equally face the pressure, i.e., the students to procure a job and the guardians to pay the costs.

In the recent years, the banks have become the saviors in such situations. They offer easy bank loans and ask for repayments only after the completion of the course. But for the repayment, we need a job. Do we have a job security in this nation? A nation is facing the problem of unemployment and, its banks are giving away education loans on the consideration of a promise that they will get employed; this situation in itself is peculiar and contradictory.

In a country where lakhs of crores get wasted in scams, where millions are smuggled and billions bribed; money by default can be termed as worthless. And thus, for those it is not; get rid of their dreams. Had I seen the fee structure before appearing for CLAT exam, I would have never appeared for the same! Our leaders spend lavishly for their travel and luxury. They themselves maintain their criticism by their unethical, immoral and corrupt acts.

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgement has stricken a provision of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (‘RPA’) that sought to protect convicted MPs, MLAs or MLCs from being disqualified if they appealed their conviction in a higher court or filed a revision application. Hopefully, with reference to this, in the long run, more scams will be discovered, only few will be accomplished in future and, finally, the ruling party will be have more to give away for education in their budget. We need this, because “KITAB-COPY, PEN-PENCIL SAB MEHNGA HAI, MEHNGAAI BAHUT BADI PROBLEM HAI”.

How to stop police investigation, If there are malfide in the investigation.

In order to stop investigation by a police officer due to malfide,  the writ under Article 226(mandamus) must be moved and magistrate does not have any power to stop the investigation and call for inquiry u/s 159 CrPC.

[Citation]http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/644972/

LAND MARK SC JUDGEMENT ON INTERIM MAINTENANCE/MAINTENANCE 125 crpc

LAND MARK SC JUDGEMENT ON INTERIM MAINTENANCE/MAINTENANCE 125 crpc

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MAINTENANCE TO HUSBAND BY WIFE

How Maintenance to wife is assessed in S.24 HMA

125 CrPc-How to alter the maintainance

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Supreme Court Cases 316-2008
Chaturbhuj Vs. Sitabai,
Dismissing the appeal, the Court
Dismissing the appeal, the Court
HELD: 1.1. The object of the maintenance proceedings is not to punish a person
for his past neglect, but to prevent vagrancy by compelling those who can
provide support to those who are unable to support themselves and who have a
moral claim to support. The phrase “unable to maintain herself” would mean that
means available to the deserted wife while she was living with her husband and
would not take within itself the efforts made by the wife after desertion to
survive somehow. S.125 Cr.P.C. is a measure of social justice and is specially
enacted to protect women and children and falls within constitutional sweep of
Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution of India, 1950. It
provides a speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to the
deserted wife. It gives effect to fundamental rights and natural duties of a man
to maintain his wife, children and parents when they are unable to maintain
themselves. [Para 5] [586-B, C,D, E]
Captain Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Mrs. Veena Kaushal and Ors., AIR (1978) SC
1807 and Savitaben Somabhai Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat and Ors., (2005) 2 Supreme 503, relied on.
1.2. Under the law, the burden is placed in the first place upon the wife to
show that the means of her husband are sufficient. In the instant case, there is
no dispute that the appellant has the requisite means. But there is an
inseparable condition which has also to be satisfied that the wife was unable to
maintain herself. These two conditions are in addition to the requirement that
the husband must have neglected or refused to maintain his wife. The appellant
has placed material to show that the respondent-wife was earning some income.
That is not sufficient to rule out application of s.125 Cr.P.C. It has to be
established that with the amount she earned the respondent-wife was able to
maintain herself. Whether the deserted wife was unable to maintain herself, has
to be decided on the basis of the material placed on record. Where the personal
income of the wife is insufficient she can claim maintenance under s.125 Cr.P.C.
The test is whether the wife is in a position to maintain herself in the way she was used to at the place of her husband.[Paras 6, 7 and 8] [583-F, G; 584-A, B, C]
Bhagwan v. Kamla Devi, AIR (1975) SC 83, relied on and re-iterated.
2. The trial Court, the Revisional Court and the High Court analysed the
evidence and held that the respondent wife was unable to maintain herself. The
conclusions are essentially factual and they are not perverse. That being so
there is no scope for interference in this appeal. [Para 9] [584-D, E]
Shashindra Tirpathi, Sharad Tripathi and Debasis Misra for the Appellant.
Shashi Bhushan Kumar for the Respondent.
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973:
s.125-Claim for maintenance by wife-Wife not having sufficient means to maintain
herself and husband having sufficient means-Order of maintenance by Courts below
after analyzing evidence-Interference with-Held: Conclusion of courts below that
wife was unable to maintain herself was essentially factual and not
perverse-Thus, interference not called for-Constitution of India-Article 136.
s.125-Maintenance proceedings-Object of-Held: s.125 is a measure of social
justice, especially enacted to protect women, children and parents when they are
unable to maintain themselves, and falls within constitutional sweep of Article
12(3) reinforced by Article 39 of the Constitution-Constitution of India,1950-Articles 15(3) and 39-Social justice.
Words and phrases: “unable to maintain herself“-Meaning of-In the context of
s.125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The respondent-wife filed an application under s.125 Cr.P.C. claiming
Rs.10,000/- as maintenance from the appellant-husband. In the application, it
was claimed that she was unemployed and unable to maintain herself.
The stand of the appellant was that the wife was living in the house constructed
by him; that she had let out the house on rent and since 1979 was residing with
one of their sons; that the wife had sold the agricultural land and sale
proceeds were still with her; and that she could maintain herself from the money
received from the sale of agricultural land and rent.
Considering the evidence on record, the trial Court directed husband to pay
Rs.1500 per month opining that the wife did not have sufficient means to
maintain herself. The revisional Court analysed the evidence and dismissed the
revision petition holding that the appellant’s monthly income was more than
Rs.10,000/- and the amount received as rent by the respondent-wife was not
sufficient to maintain herself.
Appellant filed an application under s.482 Cr.P.C. before the High Court. The
High Court dismissed the application holding that the conclusions by the trial
Court and the Revisional Court were arrived at on appreciation of evidence and
therefore there was no scope for any interference. Hence the present appeal.
2008 AIR 530 , 2007(12 )SCR577 , 2008(2 )SCC316 , 2007(13 )SCALE402 , 2008(1)JT78
CASE NO.:Appeal (crl.) 1627 of 2007
PETITIONER:Chaturbhuj
RESPONDENT:Sita Bai
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 27/11/2007
BENCH:Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & AFTAB ALAM
JUDGMENT:J U D G M E N T
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1627 OF 2007
(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.4379 of 2006)
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. Challenge in this appeal is to the order passed by a
learned Single Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court,
Indore Bench, dismissing the revision petition filed by the
appellant in terms of Section 482 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘Cr.P.C.’). The challenge before the
High Court was to the order passed by learned Judicial
Magistrate, First Class, Neemuch, M.P. as affirmed by the
learned Additional Sessions Judge, Neemuch, M.P. The
respondent had filed an application under Section 125 of
Cr.P.C. claiming maintenance from the appellant.
Undisputedly, the appellant and the respondent had entered
into marital knot about four decades back and for more than
two decades they were living separately. In the application it
was claimed that she was unemployed and unable to maintain
herself. Appellant had retired from the post of Assistant
Director of Agriculture and was getting about Rs.8,000/- as
pension and a similar amount as house rent. Besides this, he
was lending money to people on interest. The appellant
claimed Rs.10,000/- as maintenance. The stand of the
appellant was that the applicant was living in the house
constructed by the present appellant who had purchased 7
bighas of land in Ratlam in the name of the applicant. She let
out the house on rent and since 1979 was residing with one of
their sons. The applicant sold the agricultural land on
13.3.2003. The sale proceeds were still with the applicant.
The appellant was getting pension of about Rs.5,700/- p.m.
and was not getting any house rent regularly. He was getting
2-3 thousand rupees per month. The plea that the appellant
had married another lady was denied. It was further
submitted that the applicant at the relevant point of time was
staying in the
house of the appellant and electricity and water
dues were being paid by him. The applicant can maintain
herself from the money received from the sale of agricultural
land and rent. Considering the evidence on record, the trial
Court found that the applicant-respondent did not have
sufficient means to maintain herself.
3. Revision petition was filed by the present appellant.
Challenge was to the direction to pay Rs.1500/- p.m. by the
trial Court. The stand was that the applicant was able to
maintain herself from her income was reiterated. The
revisional court analysed the evidence and held that the
appellant’s monthly income was more than Rs.10,000/- and
the amount received as rent by the respondent-claimant was
not sufficient to maintain herself. The revision was
accordingly dismissed. The matter was further carried before
the High Court by filing an application in terms of Section 482
Cr.P.C. The High Court noticed that the conclusions have
been arrived at on appreciation of evidence and, therefore,
there is no scope for any interference.
4. Section 125 Cr.P.C. reads as follows:
“125. (1) If any person having sufficient means
neglects or refuses to maintain
(a) his wife, unable to maintain herself, or
(b) his legitimate or illegitimate minor child,
whether married or not, unable to maintain
itself, or
(c) his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being
a married daughter) who has attained
majority, where such child is, by reason of any
physical or mental abnormality or injury
unable to maintain itself, or
(d) his father or mother, unable to maintain
himself or herself,
a Magistrate of the First Class may, upon proof of
such neglect or refusal, order such person to make
a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his wife
or such child, father or mother, at such monthly
rate not exceeding five hundred rupees in the whole,
as such Magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same
to such person as the Magistrate may from time to
time direct:
Provided that the Magistrate may order the
father of a minor female child referred to in clause
(b) to make such allowance, until she attains her
majority, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the
husband of such minor female child, if married, is
not possessed of sufficient means.
Explanation .For the purposes of this Chapter,
(a) ‘minor’ means a person who, under the
provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 (9
of 1875), is deemed not to have attained his
majority;
(b) ‘wife’ includes a woman who has been
divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from,
her husband and has not remarried.”
[“(2) Any such allowance for the maintenance or
interim maintenance and expenses of proceeding
shall be payable from the date of the order, or, if so
ordered, from the date of the application for
maintenance or interim maintenance and expenses
of proceeding, as the case may be.”;]
(3) If any person so ordered fails without sufficient
cause to comply with the order, any such Magistrate
may, for every breach of the order, issue a warrant
for levying the amount due in the manner provided
for levying fines, and may sentence such person, for
the whole, or any port of each month’s allowance 4
[allowance for the maintenance or the interim
maintenance and expenses of proceeding , as the case
may be] remaining unpaid after the execution of the
warrant, to imprisonment for a term which may
extend to one month or until payment if sooner made:
Provided that no warrant shall be issued for the
recovery of any amount due under this section
unless application be made to the Court to levy
such amount within a period of one year from the
date on which it became due:
Provided further that if such person offers to
maintain his wife on condition of her living with
him, and she refuses to live with him, such
Magistrate may consider any grounds of refusal
stated by her, and may make an order under this
section notwithstanding such offer, if he is satisfied
that there is just ground for so doing.
Explanation.-If a husband has contracted marriage
with another woman or keeps a mistress, it shall
be considered to be just ground for his wife’s
refusal to live with him.
(4) No wife shall be entitled to receive an 4 [allowance
for the maintenance or the interim maintenance and
expenses of proceeding , as the case may be] from her
husband under this section if she is living in
adultery, or if, without any sufficient reason, she
refuses to live with her, husband, or if they are living
separately by mutual consent.
(5) On proof that any wife in whose favour an order
has been made under this section is living in
adultery, or that without sufficient reason she
refuses to live with her husband, or that they are
living separately by mutual consent, the Magistrate
shall cancel the order.”
5. The object of the maintenance proceedings is not to
punish a person for his past neglect, but to prevent vagrancy
by compelling those who can provide support to those who
are unable to support themselves and who have a moral claim
to support. The phrase “unable to maintain herself” in the
instant case would mean that means available to the deserted
wife while she was living with her husband and would not take
within itself the efforts made by the wife after desertion to
survive somehow. Section 125 Cr.P.C. is a measure of social
justice and is specially enacted to protect women and children
and as noted by this Court in Captain Ramesh Chander
Kaushal v. Mrs. Veena Kaushal and Ors. (AIR 1978 SC 1807)
falls within constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by
Article 39 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short the
‘Constitution’). It is meant to achieve a social purpose. The
object is to prevent vagrancy and destitution. It provides a
speedy remedy for the supply of food, clothing and shelter to
the deserted wife. It gives effect to fundamental rights and
natural duties of a man to maintain his wife, children and
parents when they are unable to maintain themselves. The
aforesaid position was highlighted in Savitaben Somabhai
Bhatiya v. State of Gujarat and Ors. (2005 (2) Supreme 503).
6. Under the law the burden is placed in the first place
upon the wife to show that the means of her husband are
sufficient. In the instant case there is no dispute that the
appellant has the requisite means.
7. But there is an inseparable condition which has also to
be satisfied that the wife was unable to maintain herself.
These two conditions are in addition to the requirement that
the husband must have neglected or refused to maintain his
wife. It is has to be established that the wife was unable to
maintain herself. The appellant has placed material to show
that the respondent-wife was earning some income. That is
not sufficient to rule out application of Section 125 Cr.P.C. It
has to be established that with the amount she earned the
respondent-wife was able to maintain herself.
8. In an illustrative case where wife was surviving by
begging, would not amount to her ability to maintain herself.
It can also be not said that the wife has been capable of
earning but she was not making an effort to earn. Whether the
deserted wife was unable to maintain herself, has to be
decided on the basis of the material placed on record. Where
the personal income of the wife is insufficient she can claim
maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C. The test is whether
the wife is in a position to maintain herself i
n the way she was
used to in the place of her husband. In Bhagwan v. Kamla
Devi (AIR 1975 SC 83) it was observed that the wife should be
in a position to maintain standard of living which is neither
luxurious nor penurious but what is consistent with status of
a family. The expression “unable to maintain herself” does not
mean that the wife must be absolutely destitute before she can
apply for maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C.
9. In the instant case the trial Court, the Revisional Court and the High Court have analysed the evidence and held that the respondent wife was unable to maintain herself. The conclusions are essentially factual and they are not perverse.
That being so there is no scope for interference in this appeal which is dismissed.

No offence u/s 138 of N.I. Act is committed for dishonour of cheque given as security deposit

Security cheque and offence under 138 NI act

NI 138 Quashing

How your Security cheque can save you from cheque bouncing offence under NI 138

Is it cheating?

Judgment IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION Joseph Vilangadan. v. Phenomenal Health Care Services Ltd. & Anr. CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.2243 OF 2009 CORAM : J.H.Bhatia, J. DATE : 20th July, 2010 1 Rule. Rule made returnable

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forthwith. Heard the learned counsel for the parties. 2 There is no dispute that the respondent no.1/complainant and M/s. Encon Engineering and Contractors (Hereinafter referred to as ‘Contractors’) had entered into an agreement on 28th January, 2005 whereby Contractors had undertaken to carry out certain works for the respondent. As per the said contract, Contractors deposited the sum of Rs. 10 lacs by undated cheque no.027840 drawn against South Indian Bank Ltd., Palarivattom Branch, Cochin branch with the respondent no.1 as refundable security deposit for the due performance of the agreement. The said undated cheque was in custody of the respondent no.1 and it appears that the respondent no.1 filled in the date on undated cheque as “4.6.2008″. The cheque was presented to the drawee bank through the banker of the respondent no.1. Cheque was returned unpaid on the ground that the drawer had stopped the payment. Therefore, notice was issued by the respondent to the contractor as well as it’s managing partner for the payment of the cheque amount . In spite of notice, payment was not made. Therefore, the respondent no.1 filed complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate 44th Court, Andheri. Process was issued against the accused, who is the petitioner before this Court. Petitioner/accused challenged the issuance of process by filing revision application no.789/2009 before the Sessions Court, Gr. Bombay. By the impugned order dated 8th June, 2009, the learned Additional Sessions Judge rejected the revision application. Hence this petition. 3. At the outset it may be stated that before the revisional Court, petitioner had taken several grounds challenging the issuance of process. However, during the arguments before this Court, the learned counsel for the petitioner restricted the challenge only to one point. According to him, cheque was not issued in discharge of any debt or liability and as the cheque was issued as security deposit, provisions of Section 138 are not applicable. The learned counsel placed reliance upon several authorities in support of his contention. The learned counsel for the respondent/complainant contended that the said cheque was deposited in lieu of the amount of Rs. 10 lacs which would be otherwise required to be deposited as security by the contractor with the respondent for due performance of the contact and, therefore, it must be held that the cheque was issued in discharge of “other liability.” 4. Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act provides that where any cheque was drawn by a person on account maintained by him with the banker for the payment of any amount of money to another person for discharge in whole or in part of any debt or other liability and it was returned by the drawee bank unpaid either because the amount of money in the account is insufficient or it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid, such person shall be deemed to have been committed offence and shall be liable to punishment with imprisonment or with fine or with both. Of course, before the offence is committed, several other conditions are required to be fulfilled. We are not concerned with the same for the decision of the present matter. mportant ingredient for the offence punishable under Section 138 is that cheque must have been issued for the discharge in whole or in part of any debt or other liability. If the cheque is not issued for the discharge of any debt or other liability, Section 138 can not be invoked. It is now well settled legal position that if the cheque is issued only as security for performance of certain contract or an agreement and not towards the discharge of any debt or other liability, offence punishable under section 138 is not made out. In Travel Force v. Mohan N. Bhave and Another 2007 Mh.L.J.3339 , the cheque in question was issued by the accused for investment in fixed deposit and it was accepted by the complainant as fixed deposit in the scheme. As the cheque was dishonoured, the complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act was filed. Process was issued by the Magistrate. However, the Sessions Court set aside the order issuing the process holding that the cheque was not issued for discharge in whole or in part of any debt or other liability and, therefore, presumption under Section 139 could not arise in favour of the complainant. Revision application filed by the complainant was rejected by this High Court holding that when the cheque was issued only as a deposit and not in discharge of any debt or liability, offence under Section 138 is not made out. 5. In M.S.Narayana Menon @ Mani v. State of Kerala and Another (2006) 6 SCC 39, accused and the complainant were brokers working in the stock exchange and the complainant was to enter into certain transactions on behalf of the accused. The cheque was issued for an amount of Rs. 2,95,033/by the accused in favour of the complainant. On presentation, the cheque was dishonoured. After notice also the payment was not made. In the case under Section 138 plea of the accused was that the complainant was in dire need of financial assistance and the said cheque was issued so as to enable him to tide over his financial difficulties and not in discharge of any debt or liability payable to the complainant. During the trial, it was revealed that there was discrepancy of more than Rs. 14 lacs in the account maintained by the complainant. Accused was convicted by the trial Court but was acquitted by the appellate Court . High Court set aside the acquittal and convicted the accused. Accused went to the Supreme Court. After going to the facts and circumstances, the Supreme Court observed thus in paragraph 52: “52. We, in the facts and circumstances of this case, need not go into the question as to whether even if the prosecution fails to prove that a large portion of the amount claimed to be a part of the debt was not owing and due to the complainant by the accused and only because he has issued a cheque for a higher amount, he would be convicted if it is held that existence of debt in respect of large part of the said amount has not been proved. The appellants clearly said that nothing is due and the cheque was issued by way of security. The said defence has been accepted as probable. If the defence is acceptable as probable the cheque therefore cannot be held to have been issued in discharge of the debt as, for example, if a cheque is issued for security or for any other purpose the same would not come within the purview of Section 138 of the Act.” From these observations, it appears that if the cheque was not issued for discharge of any debt or liability but as a security only, offence is not made out under Section 138. 6. Coming to the facts of the present case from the complaint as well as particulars of the agreement executed on 28.1.2005, it is clear that cheque was issued as a security deposit at the time of entering into contract for due performance of the terms of the contract. Agreement shows that the contractor had deposited the undated cheque no.027840 with the respondent as refundable security deposit for due performance of the agreement. Even the allegations in the complaint are not different. Admittedly, when this agreement was entered into, no debt or liability was in existence and under that agreement, parties had entered into a contract whereby contractor was to perform certain works for the respondent. Naturally, as per the terms of the contract and the allegations made in the complaint if the contractor would fail to perform the agreement, respondent could encash the cheque and recover an amount of security deposit. 7. The learned counsel for the respondents vehemently contended that the contractor was to perform so many works and in respect of some works, his ra
tes were higher and in respect of some other, rates were lower than the other bidders. He was also advanced certain amount for carrying out certain works from time to time. Contractor had completed works in which higher rates were given to him but he ignored to carry out those works where the rates were less and thereafter he ignored to complete those particular works resulting into the disputes between the parties. Admittedly, the disputes had occurred in the year 2006 and the contractor filed a suit against the respondent in the year 2006. Not only was this, admittedly, matter also referred to arbitrator in respect of said disputes. The learned counsel for the respondents pointed out that undated cheque was lying with the respondent since 28.1.2005. However, for the first time a date “4.6.2008” was put on him and then cheque was presented for encashment, which was returned unpaid with endorsement “payment was stopped”. It shows that date was put on the cheque by the respondents long after disputes had arisen between the parties. Proviso (a) to Section 138 requires that the cheque should be 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. In the present case though the cheque was drawn and handed over on 28.1.2005, date was not put on it. If the date would have been put, cheque would have been valid for six months from 28.1.2005. However, the respondent put the date 4.6.2008, i.e., almost three years after the period of cheque was over. Thus, the cheque was not presented to the drawee bank within six months from the date when it was actually drawn. Anyhow, it is not necessary to enter into that controversy for the purpose of deciding the present petition. Fact remains that the cheque was issued towards the security deposit and not towards the discharge of any debt or liability. 8 . The learned counsel for the respondent contends that it is not necessary that the cheque should be issued for discharge of a debt.According to him, it may be issued towards the discharge of other liability also and in support of this, he placed reliance on ICDS Limited v. Beena Shabeer and Another (2002) 6 SCC 426. In that case, husband of the accused/respondent no.1 had obtained a car under hire purchase agreement from the complainant. The accused was a guarantor for payment of the amount by her husband and towards the part payment of the said transaction, she had issued a cheque in favour of the complainant. Cheque was dishonoured and the payment was not made in spite of the notice. High Court quashed the complaint on the ground that cheque from the guarantor could not be said to have been issued for the purpose of discharge of any debt or liability. However, the Supreme Court set aside the order of the High Court. The Supreme Court observed thus in paragraphs 10 and 11. “10. The language, however, has been rather specific as regards the intent of the legislature. The commencement of the section stands with the words “Where any cheque”. The above noted three words are of extreme significance, in particular, by reason of the user of the word “any”the first three words suggest that in fact for whatever reason if a cheque is drawn on an account maintained by him with a banker in favour of another person for the discharge of any debt or other liability, the highlighted words if read with the first three words at the commencement of Section 138, leave no manner of doubt that for whatever reason it may be, the liability under this provision cannot be avoided in the event the same stands returned by the banker unpaid. The legislature has been careful enough to record not only discharge in whole or in part of any debt but the same includes other liability as well. This aspect of the matter has not been appreciated by the High Court, neither been dealt with or even referred to in the impugned judgment. 11. The issue as regards the coextensive liability of the guarantor and the principal debtor, in our view, is totally out of the purview of Section 138 of the Act, neither the same calls for any discussion therein. The language of the statute depicts the intent of the lawmakers to the effect that wherever there is a default on the part of one in favour of another and in the event a cheque is issued in discharge of any debt or other liability there cannot be any restriction or embargo in the matter of application of the provisions of Section 138 of the Act. “Any cheque” and “other liability” are the two key expressions which stand as clarifying the legislative intent so as to bring the factual context within the ambit of the provisions of the statute. Any contra interpretation would defeat the intent of the legislature. The High Court, it seems, got carried away by the issue of guarantee and guarantor’s liability and thus has overlooked the true intent and purport of Section 138 of the Act. The judgments recorded in the order of the High Court do not have any relevance in the contextual facts and the same thus do not lend any assistance to the contentions raised by the respondents.” Supreme Court in ICDS Ltd. v. Beena Shabeer and Another (2002) Supreme Court Cases 426 considered provisions of the law and held that when the cheque is issued by the guarantor in discharge of such other liability, provisions of section 138 are applicable. Infact, section 138 itself specifically provides that the cheque should have been issued by a person for the discharge of any debt or other liability. The guarantor may not be himself a debtor but he guarantees the repayment of the loan taken by the principal debtor. By giving such a guarantee, the guarantor incurs a liability towards the creditor and for the discharge of that liability, if he issues cheque, he will be covered by the provisions of Section 138. As the cheque was issued for the discharge of “other liability” case would be covered by Section 138. 9 In the present case, there was no liability or debt towards the complainant/respondent when the cheque was issued by the contractor. From the language of the agreement as well as allegations made in the complaint, it is clear that said cheque was issued as security deposit and not towards the discharge of any debt or lone. The learned counsel for the respondent contended that in M.S.Narayana Menon @ Mani (Supra), evidence was led by the parties and on the basis of evidence, the Supreme Court came to conclusion that the cheque was issued as a security and, therefore, Section 138 would not be applicable. According to the learned counsel, in this case only process has been issued and the parties are yet to go to the trial and, therefore, said authority in M.S. Narayana Menon @ Mani (Supra) would not be applicable. It would be difficult to accept this contention. Ratio in M.S.Narayana Menon @ Mani (Supra), is applicable to the facts of the present case. When on the face of the complaint itself, it is clear that the cheque was issued as a security deposit and not towards the discharge of any debt or other liability, case under Section 138 is not made out. When the complaint itself does not make out criminal case to issue the process, to force the accused to undergo trial would be clear misuse of the process of the Court and this should not be allowed. The Additional Sessions Judge while rejecting the revision application dealt with the liability of the contractor on the basis of terms of the contract and the cheque. The learned counsel for the respondent also contended that the matter was referred to arbitrator and arbitrator also held that the contractor is liable to pay on the basis of that cheque. As far as civil liability of the contractor/petitioner is concerned, it is not necessary to look into the same in present matter. Suit was filed in the year 2006 and the arbitrator was also appointed in 2008, therefore, civil liability of the parties against each other can be looked into the said litigation or arbitration proceedings. In the present matter, we have only to see whether the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is made ou
t or not. The learned Revisional Court did not address to this question properly before rejecting revision application. 10 In view of the facts and circumstances, I find that no case to issue process under Section 138 was made out and, therefore, process issued by the trial Court is liable to be quashed. 11 For the aforesaid reasons, petition is allowed. The order passed by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate to issue process under Section 138 is hereby quashed. Rule made absolute accordingly.

SUPREME COURT: CAN’T SUE LAWYERS FOR WRONG ADVICE

At a time when it is the norm to seek legal opinion prior to taking a decision, theSupreme Court has come to the rescue oflawyers by ruling that they cannot be prosecuted for rendering wrong advice if there is no link between them and perpetrators of a fraud or offence.
But the court said the advocate’s opinion must be bona fide as all legal practitioners owe “an unremitting loyalty to the interests of a client and it is the lawyer’s responsibility to act in a manner that would best advance the interest of the client”.A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi gave this judgment while dismissing the CBI’s appeal against an Andhra Pradesh High Court order quashing criminal proceedings against an advocate for rendering legal opinion on genuineness of title deeds for sanction of loans, which resulted in a multi-crore loan fraud involving a nationalized bank.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Sathasivam said, “Merely because his opinion may not be acceptable, he cannot be mulcted (punished) with criminal prosecution, particularly, in the absence of tangible evidence that he associated with other conspirators. At the most, he may be liable for gross negligence or professional misconduct if it is established by acceptable evidence but cannot be charged for the offence under Section 420 (cheating) and 109 (abetment) along with other conspirators without proper and acceptable link between them.”

The court drew a parallel between lawyers and other professionals like doctors and said none of them could guarantee success – either in litigation or in treatment.

“A lawyer does not tell his client that he shall win the case in all circumstances. Likewise, a physician would not assure the patient of full recovery in every case. A surgeon cannot and does not guarantee that the result of surgery would invariably be beneficial, much less to the extent of 100% for the person operated on,” the bench said.

“The only assurance which such a professional can give or can be given by implication is that he is possessed of the requisite skill in that branch of profession which he is practicing and while undertaking the performance of the task entrusted to him, he would be exercising his skill with reasonable competence. This is what the person approaching the professional can expect,” the court said.

“Judged by this standard, a professional may be held liable for negligence on one of the two things – either he did not possess the requisite skill which he professed to have possessed or he did not exercise, with reasonable competence in the given case, the skill which he possessed,” it added.

Quoting an earlier judgment, the court said it was not necessary for every professional to possess the highest level of expertise in that branch which he practiced. It quoted another judgment of the SC, in which it had ruled that “mere negligence unaccompanied by any moral delinquency on the part of a legal practitioner in the exercise of his profession does not amount to professional misconduct”.