Reply To: Negotiable Instrument Act 1881

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advtanmoy
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Evidence of the Accused Person in Cheque Bouncing Case

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Sumeti Vij vs Paramount Tec Feb Industries  LL 2021 SC 149, “The statement of the accused recorded under 313 of the Code is not a substantive evidence of defence, but only an opportunity to the accused to explain the cir- cumstance appearing in the prosecution case of the ac- cused”.

It must be borne in mind that the statement of accused under Section 281 Cr. P.C. or under Section 313 Cr. P.C. is not the evidence of the accused and it cannot be read as part of evidence. The accused has an option to examine himself as a witness. Where the accused does not examine himself as a witness, his statement under Section 281 Cr. P.C. or 313 Cr. P.C. cannot be read as evidence of the accused and it has to be looked into only as an explanation of the incriminating circumstance and not as evidence. There is no presumption of law that explanation given by the accused was truthful. In the present case, the accused in his statement stated that he had given cheques as security. If the accused wanted to prove this, he was supposed to appear in the witness box and testify and get himself subjected to cross examination. His explanation that he had the cheques as security for taking loan from the complainant but no loan was given should not have been considered by the Trial Court as his evidence and this was liable to be rejected since the accused did not appear in the witness box to dispel the presumption that the cheques were issued as security. Mere suggestion to the witness that cheques were issued as security or mere explanation given in the statement of accused under Section 281 Cr. P.C., that the cheques were issued as security, does not amount to proof. Moreover, the Trial Court seemed to be obsessed with idea of proof beyond reasonable doubt forgetting that offence under Section 138 of N.I. Act was a technical offence and the complainant is only supposed to prove that the cheques issued by the respondent were dishonoured, his statement that cheques were issued against liability or debt is sufficient proof of the debt or liability and the onus shifts to the respondent/ accused to show the circumstances under which the cheques came to be issued and this could be proved by the respondent only by way of evidence and not by leading no evidence. [Delhi High Court in V.S.Yadav vs Reena on 21 September, 2010]