Banking amended the Negotiable Instruments act, 1881, Public financial institutions and negotiable instruments law in the late 80s, by which, if the cheques issued by a person is dishonored in case of fund insufficiency of the issuer’s account, the drawer will be penalized. The main reason for incorporating these provisions was to motivate the usage of cheques and to improve its credibility. According to these amendments, it’s a criminal offence to Dishonor the cheque and Criminal liability will be charged on the drawer.
The fundamental reason for implementing the negotiable instrument act was to promote the accountability of the issuer and to take actions considered as a criminal in case he is found trying to be defrauding. This can ensure that the drawer of the cheque knows the seriousness while issuing a cheque. This amendment also includes taking actions for stop payment and signature mismatch.
After about thirty years of the introduction of the amendment and starting treating Cheque dishonor as a criminal offence, it has been found that all those cheque bounce cases are treated as civil ones. It has also been found as the criminal trials for those cheque bounce cases, the credibility was getting lower. But still cheque remains one of the most used transaction method commercially.
To resolve the above issue, a section 148 has been introduced newly which stated that, if the drawer files an appeal against the conviction under section 138, the Appellant may be ordered by the Appellate court to deposit an amount. That amount will be twenty percent of the fine or the total compensation granted by the trial court. The payable amount stated by the provision would be in addition to any interim compensation paid by the Appellant under section 143A.
Wholly, once when the considerable amount is deposited by the Appellant/drawer of cheques or the accused/drawer of the cheques, the matter would be given more importance.
If those considerations and actions are not improved regularly to add more practicality to cheque bounce cases, it’s hard to sustain the importance of introducing cheque bounce as a criminal offence.
Part-I After much deliberation and doing a lot of research, I decided to write a multiple article series on a very important and hotly debated topic i.e., Marking Exhibits on Documents and How and When to Deal with the Objections that arise in such process.
Since the topic is vast and there are various kinds of objections that are raised, it is not possible to confine the matter to a single article. So for the sake of convenience, ease, and in order to make the topic clear, it will be covered through a series of successive articles. Without wasting much time let’s start from the beginning. Introduction The journey of a document in civil cases passes through three stages before it is held as proved or not proved or disproved.
They are: Production of documents in court (In civil cases along with plaint or written statement or subsequently), Admission and exhibition (When it is tendered or produced in Evidence and once admitted by court it becomes part of judicial record), and Proof (or truth of contents) (At the final stage, preferably in Judgement) What is marking of Exhibits There is no legal definition of exhibits in any statute and the origin of the terms is out of customary practice. Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Sudhir Engineering Company v. Nitco Roadways Ltd[i], categorically held that the practice of exhibition or marking has evolved merely out of customary practice and is without any legal backing. Most of the documents (except documents with which the opposite party is confronted) are already on the judicial file, at the stage of evidence, they are formally produced and given an identity by providing a nomenclature by using alphabets and letters. This is called marking of exhibits. Thereafter, those documents become evidence, subject to them being proved under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA) and other laws.[ii] What is the next step when Court admits a document in Evidence- How Exhibits are marked Order 13 Rule 4 sub-rule (1) of the Civil Procedure Code provides as under:- 4.(1) ‘ Subject to the provisions of the next following sub-rule, there shall be endorsed on every document which has been admitted in evidence in the suit the following particulars, namely: the number and title of the suit, the name of the person who produced the documents, the date on which it was produced, and, a statement of its having been so admitted; and the endorsement shall be signed or initialled by the Judge. According to Order 32 Rule 7, General Rules Civil and Criminal, 2018, framed by Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court, it states as: a) Upon every document produced and admitted in evidence and proved before a Court shall be clearly marked the number it bears in the General Index of the case and the number and title of the case. b) The Court shall mark the documents admitted in evidence on behalf of the prosecution with the letter ‘P’ and a numeral in the order in which they are admitted, thus:- Ex. P.1, Ex.P.2, and Ex. P.3, etc. and the documents admitted on behalf of the defence with the letter ‘D’ and numeral thus:- Ex.D.1, Ex. D.2, and Ex.D.3, etc. c) In the same manner every material exhibit admitted in evidence on behalf of prosecution shall be marked with numerals in serial order followed by the word ‘ART’ as Ex. Art.1, Ex. Art.2, Ex. Art.3 and the material exhibit admitted on behalf of the defence shall be marked with the letter ‘A’ with numerals in serial orders viz. Ex. Art.A-1, Ex. Art.A-2 and Ex. Art. A-3, etc. d) All exhibit marks on the documents and material exhibits shall be recorded in red ink and in block letters and shall be initialed with designation and dated by the Presiding Officer of Court. e) No document or material exhibit, which has been admitted in evidence and exhibited shall be returned or destroyed until the period for appeal or revision has expired or until the appeal or revision has been disposed of. f) Documents and material exhibits, which have not been admitted in evidence should not be made part of the record and should be returned to the party by whom they have been produced with an endorsement mentioning the number and title of the case, name of the person producing the document and by the word ‘returned’ endorsed on it, which shall be signed or initialed by the Presiding Officer. What’s the purpose of Marking of Exhibits on the Document The marking of a document as an exhibit, be it in any manner whatsoever either by use of alphabets or by use of numbers, is only for the purpose of identification. While reading the record the parties and the Court should be able to know which was the document before the witness when he was deposing.