Court sets aside conviction in a cheque bounce case

A superior court here Monday set aside a trial court decision that had ordered a man accused of defaulting a payment two years in prison and a fine.

In September 2018, Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, Abdul Bari, convicted Sameer Ashraf Gilkar of Kawdara and sentenced him to one year rigorous imprisonment and one year simple imprisonment in a cheque bounce case.

The court had also directed the Gilkar to pay Rs 59 lac – double the cheque amount of Rs 29.50 lac as compensation to the complainant, Muhammad Lateef Paul.

Gilkar through his counsel advocate Muhammad Latief challenged the trial court judgment on various grounds including that he could not be punished for the offence committed by someone else. 

On Monday, after hearing counsels of the both parties, first additional principal and district judge, Srinagar, Rajinder Sapru, said that the trial court judgment did not stand scrutiny of law. 

“I find that the impugned judgment suffers for serious legal infirmities and also from improper appreciation of facts and law and hence, the appeal succeeds. Impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence are set aside,” the court ordered.

“Appellant is acquitted of the offence.”

The appellant court observed that cheque was not issued Gilkar but his father and that fact did not make the son liable to be convicted under the law.

“It is evident the complainant had failed to arraign the alleged firm of accused as an accused in the complaint and had failed to prove that appellant and his father were constituting a firm or association or that appellant had signed the cheque and same was drawn by him with the concerned bank as such, he could have been made liable either personally or vicariously for the acts of his father,” the court said.

In the 2018 decision, the trial court while convicting the accused had observed that such sentencing serves as deterrence to other likeminded criminals.