The Madras High Court Bench on Saturday slapped a penalty of Rs 10000 on an accused in a cheque bounce case for inordinately delaying the case filed in 2003 and directed the trial court to complete it within one month.
Justice A Arumugachamy directed accused, one T Subbiah, to deposit the money before the trial court in three weeks.
The Judge pointed out that the bench had earlier fixed a time limit for the case to be completed before August 30,2011. But the accused had not completed the evidence and arguments on his side and prolonged the matter for two more years.
Since the amount involved was heavy - Rs 39 lakh - and the accused had dragged it for 10 years, the bench said the trial court is directed to complete the trial in one month.
The judge noted that the trial court in Tuticorin, after considering the cheque amount, had taken it on file as a calender case by issuing summons and started trial. Once this was done, the question of 'De novo' trial does not arise.
If the accused was aggrieved, he ought to have filed necessary application at the earliest point itself.
The Bench pointed out the man had filed two petitions on different occasions for the same relief and that the latter one, to send the documents to handwriting and fingerprint experts to ascertain the age of the signature and the body of the cheques, had been dismissed with a severe warning to him.
The accused had not chosen to complete the trial within the trial frame as fixed by this court, the judge said.
He said it is not disputed that on the basis of returned cheque, a private complaint had been filed by petitioner K R Dennisraj before the judicial magistrate in 2003.
The petitioner who is the complainant gave the complaint as the cheque bounced. Even after the statutory note, the respondent had not chosen to pay the amount. The case had been transferred from one court to another on various occasions for various reasons and after taking cognizance of the offence the respective Magistrate had started thE examine the