Full Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice M M Sundresh, Justice Bharathidasan and Justice Anand Venkatesh, has in a seminal ruling ( by orders from.28/5/2020 made in Rajalingam vs Suganthalakshmi) of huge impact, held that appeals against acquittal of accused by Magistrate Courts, in private complaints vis a vis Negotiable Instrumenta Act,1881, ( christened as ‘cheque bouncing cases’) shall only be under Sec.378 (4) of Cr.PC and before High Court alone, with requisite leave under 378(5) and not under Proviso to Sec.372, as amended since 2009.

[5/28, 12:50] Vijayaragan Mhc Advt: Note on Full bench Judgment dt.28/5/2020
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A Full Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice M M Sundresh, Justice Bharathidasan and Justice Anand Venkatesh, has in a seminal ruling ( by orders from.28/5/2020 made in Rajalingam vs Suganthalakshmi) of huge impact, held that appeals against acquittal of accused by Magistrate Courts, in private complaints vis a vis Negotiable Instrumenta Act,1881, ( christened as ‘cheque bouncing cases’) shall only be under Sec.378 (4) of Cr.PC and before High Court alone, with requisite leave under 378(5) and not under Proviso to Sec.372, as amended since 2009.
The verdict has come on a reference made by Justice PN Prakash that in view of the verdict of Supreme Court in Mallikarjun Kodagali, the decision of the Full Bench in Ganapathy ( Madurai Bench) on 5/4/2016 may have been rendered not good law. And also to examine the impact of all the hundreds of appeals sent to Sessions Courts in various Districts of Tamil Nadu.
The learned Chief Justice made the reference to the Full Bench, also adverting to another later Supreme Court judgment in Naval Kishore Mishra and sought answers as to i) what happens to all the Cr.Appeals sent to Sessions Courts and still pending ii) effect of those appeals already disposed of by Sessions Courts iii) legality of Cr. Appeals or Revisions pending before High Court from such orders of Sessions Courts iv) those appeals or revisions already disposed of by High Court v) and guidance for future pursuit of the appeal remedy against acquittal of accused in private complaint cases, as a consequence of answers to the reference.
The Full Bench in Rajalingam has held that Ganapathy was no longer good law, in view of clear cut pronouncements from the Supreme Court in Mallikarjun Kodagali and Naval Kishore Mishra. And particularly, rendered per incuriam for its failure to advert to a binding verdict in this private complaint jurisdiction itself from the Supreme Court. It has been pointed out Satyapal (SC) relied on in Ganapathy ( FB) was no longer good law vide Mallikarjun Kodagali ( SC).
As a result of the reference so answered, i) all appeals sent back to Sessions Courts in various Districts, after 5/4/2016 and those filed thereinafter and still pending, shall now be withdrawn to the High Court, as appeals under Sec.378 (4) with leave ii) all Appeals or Revisions pending before the High Court from orders of Sessions Courts in such cases, shall be treated as appeals under Sec.378(4) iii) All Revisions or Appeals already disposed of by H.C. in the interregnum, shall be treated as final and binding, subject to any challenge before Supreme Court and iv) all filing of such appeals against acquittal of accused in private complaint cases, henceforth, shall be by resort to appeal under Sec378 (4) Cr. PC and before High Court and with requisite application for leave to file such appeal v) Sec.372 Proviso added on and from 2009 of Cr. PC – shall be available to only ‘victims’ in criminal cases arising from FIR or Police initiated complaints, and not private complaint cases, as ‘cheque bounce cases’.
A saga ends with the pronouncement dt.28/5/2020 in ‘cheque bouncing’ cases. But, take it from me, with law,there can never be a closure. One saga ends for another to begin. The legal fraternity has its nuances and craftiness to pick holes and multiply litigation. Pendency is a huge bane in Judiciary. Several causes are identified. Now add one more. The decisions of the Courts themselves are causes for this back and forth, and keeping the pot boiling, to the eternal gratitude of the legal profession, for their well-being and welfare. As for the litigants they can take wings to pray to Blind Lady of Justice, like always. What else?
Now read the Full Bench verdict for better appreciation and understanding.
[5/28, 12:54] Sekarreporter 1: 🍁

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