The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 30 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cuffs on job fraud

Jan. 29: A Guwahati court has sentenced a woman to six-month simple imprisonment for issuing a cheque to a person without having sufficient funds in her account.

The woman had issued the cheque against the money she had allegedly taken from the person to arrange a government job for his son but had failed to do so.

The court of sub-divisional judicial magistrate-II, Kamrup, Yusuf Azaz, in an order passed yesterday, mentioned that the complainant, Haidar Ali, had paid Rs 2.60 lakh to the accused, Bimala Boro, to arrange a government job for his son in the state health department. The complainant alleged that the accused had taken the money from him with the promise that she would arrange the job but could not do so.

Ali said after failing to keep her promise, Boro gave him a cheque dated March 18, 2008 for Rs 1,00,000 to refund the money. The complainant deposited the cheque in his bank for encashment on May 6, 2008, but it was dishonoured as the accused did not have sufficient funds in her account. When the complainant allegedly requested the accused for payment, Boro again asked him to present the cheque in the bank. Accordingly, he presented the cheque again on May 9, 2008, but the cheque was again dishonoured because of insufficient funds in her account.

The complainant issued a legal notice to the accused on May 19, 2008 but the accused continued to ignore him as a result of which he filed the case against the accused under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

When the accused was called upon to face trial, she pleaded not guilty. Boro submitted before the court that she stood witness to the complainant giving the money to another person, Abhishek Hazarika, to arrange a job for his son.

She also claimed that she had given the cheque to the complainant as security on Hazarika’s request. Boro added that she gave the cheque when Hazarika assured her that it is only given to the complainant as a security and will never be encashed.

The judge said: “I am of the firm view that the parties are not pari delicto (in equal fault). The complainant is the lesser guilty party and as such he is entitled to recover the money paid by him.”

Pari delicto here means that if both the parties to the agreement are equally at fault then none could seek the assistance of the court in enforcing the agreement.

“I think time has come to recognise the common man who pays bribes to get his work done as victims and not accomplices in view of the fact that he might have had encountered so many different situations wherein he might have had to pay bribe even to get the basic entitlements like ration cards, driving licence or job,” the order said.

“Upon considerations of the general view prevalent in society, I do not think that the complainant in the instant case at hand is the accomplices or the abettor but he is the victim of the bureaucratic system,” it added.

The court sentenced Boro to undergo simple imprisonment for six months and to pay a compensation of Rs 1,90,000. The accused will have to undergo simple imprisonment for another two months if she fails to pay the compensation.