Staff Reporter

MADURAI: Lower courts dealing with cheque bounce cases need not order forensic analysis for reasons such as verifying the age of the cheques’ contents unless and otherwise the alleged signatories dispute the genuineness of the signatures, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Allowing a criminal revision petition, Justice T. Sudanthiram quashed an order passed by the Additional District Munsif at Tuticorin to find out the age of the signatures as well as other contents of two cheques and a few agreements allegedly entered between the petitioner and another in 2002.

The judge recalled that the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2003 had held that the age of a document’s content cannot be determined by ascertaining the age of the ink used to write/print the document because the ink might have been manufactured many years ago and used effectively on the date of execution for the first time. Following this judgement, the Madras High Court in Gopal vs. D. Balachandran (2008) had observed that even the age of the ink cannot be determined by experts with scientific accuracy. Hence, it was held that no purpose would be served by determining the age of the ink used in cheques.

“An expert’s opinion as to the age of the ink will not resolve any controversy, rather, it will only create confusion,” the High Court said and pointed out that the confusion would be more if two different pens had been used, one to affix the signatures and another to fill up other details required for drawing money. In the present case, R. Dennis Raja of Tuticorin had originally filed a complaint before a Judicial Magistrate in Tuticorin in 2003 under Section 138 (dishonour of cheque) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

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