BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court convicted a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) worker for not repaying a loan to his colleague.“The accused R Prasad is liable to be convicted for offences punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act,” said Justice R Devdas in the judgment dated November 26. The accused will have to pay Rs 9 lakh, of which Rs 1 lakh will go to the state as fine, and Rs 8 lakh to the complainant, BA Sathisha.
Sathisha filed a criminal appeal against a judgment dated February 14, 2018, passed by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. The magistrate had rejected Sathisha’s complaint on the grounds that he had not obtained any permission from the higher authorities at HAL before lending money to Prasad.
Prasad had sought a hand loan of Rs 8 lakh from Sathisha to treat his brother, who had met with a road accident in 2014. Later, in order to show that he had the money, Prasad produced copies of sale deeds of a property he had sold. Prasad issued a cheque to Sathisha for Rs 8 lakh to repay the debt, but the cheque was returned due to insufficient funds.
Sathisha then filed a private complaint before the magistrate. Holding that the complainant could not have lent a huge amount without permission from the higher authorities, as per Disciplinary Rules, the magistrate had dismissed the complaint.
The complainant then filed an appeal before the High Court on the grounds that the HAL Conduct, Disciplinary and Appeal Rules were applicable only to Grade-I Officers and above, and not to workmen.
After hearing both parties, the HC said the magistrate had wrongly applied provisions of the Conduct Rules of HAL as the parties were not officers. “The magistrate, while dealing with a matter under the Negotiable Instruments Act, is in no way concerned with permission required to be taken from the higher authority. Therefore, this court proceeds to hold that the order passed by the magistrate cannot be sustained,” the high court said.