The Karnataka High Court has held that an Order under Section 143A of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (NI Act) is not an interlocutory order but an intermediate one and that the Revision before the Sessions Court under Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code is maintainable.

A Single Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna observed, “I answer the issue that has arisen for consideration holding that an order passed on an application filed under Section 143A of the Act, is not interlocutory order, but an intermediate order, as the application is filed, and the application is closed, under the said provision, determining the rights and liabilities of parties qua the application and revision petition before the Court of Sessions on the order passed by the learned Magistrate under Section 143A either allowing the application, or rejecting it, would be maintainable for the aggrieved party, be it the complainant or the accused to approach.”

The Bench was deciding a petition preferred against the order of the Sessions Judge whereby the petitioner was directed to pay 10% of cheque amount to the respondent within 60 days from the date of the order.

Advocate Jaysham Jayasimha Rao appeared on behalf of the petitioner in this matter.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner was the accused and the respondent was the complainant and the two had a transaction of Rs. 37,50,000/- in total. The transaction led to issuing of certain cheques by the petitioner in favour of the respondent. The cheques when presented, were dishonoured, on the score that instruction to the bankers was ‘stop payment’. The dishonouring of cheques led to the complainant taking steps under the NI Act by causing legal notice upon the petitioner. The Magistrate took cognizance upon the complaint and registered a criminal case for offences punishable under Section 138 of the Act.

During the pendency of proceedings, the respondent filed an application under Section 143A of the Act seeking interim compensation of 20% of cheque amount to which the petitioner objected. The Magistrate rejected the said application aggrieved by which the complainant approached the Sessions Judge. Hence, the revision petition was allowed and the Sessions Judge directed payment of 10% of the cheque amount to the respondent. The petitioner/accused was therefore before the High Court.

The High Court in the above regard referred to some judgments of the Apex Court and then noted, “All these judgments considered the purport of an application under Section 143A of the Act and its closure and would hold that revision before the Court of Sessions under Section 397 of the Cr.P.C. would be maintainable as an order on the application filed under Section 143A of the Act is not an interlocutory order but an intermediate order.”

Accordingly, the High Court rejected the criminal petition.

Cause Title- Sanjay P.S. v. Abhishek M.

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