Statement u/s 313 CrPC by accused isn’t substantive evidence u/s 139 NI Act: SC

Statement of accused recorded u/s 313 of CrPC is not substantive defence evidence to rebut the presumption u/s 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act that cheques were issued for consideration.

In the instant case, Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi were considering an appeal against Himachal Pradesh High Court’s judgment wherein the Court held the accused guilty for offence u/s 138 of N.I Act.

The Bench noted that the accused has only recorded her statement u/s 313 of Code and did not adduce any evidence to rebut the presumption that cheques in question were issued for consideration.

However, the complainant filed documentary evidence to support their contention, and the witnesses were able to establish and discharge the burden of proof.

The Court observed that as per settled law, Section 138 proceedings are quasi-criminal in nature and principles of acquittal applicable in criminal cases were not applicable in the instant case. The accused has to rebut the presumption that the cheques were issued for consideration.

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Lastly, the Bench held that even though the accused recorded her statement u/s 313 of the Code, she failed to record evidence to rebut or disprove the presumption in support of the defence available u/s 139 of the Act.

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