The Himachal Pradesh High Court held that a cheque dishonor case can be compounded even after a conviction.

The Court relied upon the case of Damodar S. Prabhu v. Sayed Babalal H. (2010) 5 SCC 663 in which it was observed that the court, while exercising power under Section 147 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, can proceed to compound the offence even after recording of conviction by the courts below.

A Single Bench of Justice Sandeep Sharma said, “… parties are permitted to get the matter compounded in the light of the compromise arrived inter se them. Accordingly, judgment of conviction and sentence recorded by the learned trial court is quashed and set-aside and petitioner is acquitted of the charge framed against him.”

The Bench was dealing with a case in which the petitioner was convicted of the offence under Section 138 of the NIA.

Advocate Mohar Singh appeared on behalf of the petitioner/accused while Advocate Sandeep K. Sharma and Advocate General Anup Rattan represented the respondents.

In this case, the respondent instituted proceedings under Section 138 of NIA in the court of JMFC alleging therein that the accused with a view to discharge his liability, issued cheque amounting to Rs. 4,00,000/-, but the same was dishonoured. Since the accused failed to make the payment good within the time stipulated in the legal notice, respondent was compelled to initiate proceedings.

The Trial Court held the accused guilty of having committed offence under Section 138 of NIA. The accused preferred an appeal in the court of Additional Sessions Judge which also came to be dismissed. Thereafter, the parties entered into compromise, whereby the accused paid the entire amount of compensation to the respondent and in this background, petitioner approached the High Court praying therein for compounding of offence.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case observed, “Since petitioner-accused is lodged at Sub Jail Mandi, release warrants be prepared accordingly and sent through Fax/Email to the Superintendent of Sub Jail Mandi, immediately. The petition is disposed of alongwith pending applications, if any.”

The Court also referred to the case Gulab Singh v. Vidya Sagar Sharma Cr.MP No. 1197 of 2017 wherein it was stated that the court while exercising power under Section 147 of the NIA can proceed to compound offence even in those cases, where accused stands convicted.

The Court further held that the bail bonds are discharged.

Accordingly, the Court set aside the conviction of the petitioner and acquitted him.

Cause Title- Alam Chand v. Chaman Lal and Anr.

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