In Cheque Case, Appeal against Acquittal lies to HC

The appeal against the acquittal of the accused in a cheque bounce case can be filed only before the High Court, says the Calcutta High Court in Ms. Todi Investors v Ashis Kumar Dutta & Another.

A complainant in a cheque dishonour case u/s 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act is not a victim as defined u/s 2(wa) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Therefore, he/she can’t file an appeal against acquittal according to the provision of Section 372 of CrPC.

His/her only remedy is to file an appeal to the High Court with special leave under Section 378(4) of the Code when the accused is acquitted in a cheque complaint case. In a complaint case, the complainant can appeal to the High Court against an order of acquittal, subject to a grant of special leave, under Section 378(4) CrPC.

The proviso to Section 372 CrPC says the victim shall have a right to prefer an appeal against any order passed by the court acquitting the accused or convicting for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation. Such appeal shall lie to the court to which an appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction of such court.

The Supreme Court in the case of Subash Chand v State (Delhi Administration) [2013 2 SCC 17] held that the complainant in complaint case can challenge the order the acquittal by filing an application for Special Leave to appeal in the High court, but not in the Sessions Court.