Supreme Court reduces jail term of D'gere widow

Apex court takes lenient view considering her financial condition

The Supreme Court has come to the rescue of a Davanagere-based widow sentenced to one-year imprisonment for dishonouring a cheque for Rs 2 lakh, by reducing her jail term to a period of two-and-a-half months.

Convict B Chandramathi’s age, her social and financial status and medical condition went in her favour as a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai took a lenient view in the matter.

The bench sentenced her to the jail term which she had already served in her judicial custody saying this order was passed in the “peculiar facts and circumstances of the case”.

The apex court provided relief to the woman also noting that she had already paid the sum of Rs 2.20 lakh, including the cheque amount, to creditor N Prakash, who did not appear in the court despite the notice.

But the Bench did not interfere into the August 2008 verdict of the Karnataka High Court which had upheld her conviction and one-year jail term under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Sole bread winner

“We find from the records that the appellant is about 51 years of age. She is a poor widow who is eking out a living for herself and her family by making jowar rotis and selling them. She is the only earning member of her family. She has two children to look after. It appears that the appellant is unwell. She is stated to have suffered from depression,” the court said.

Chandramathi took a loan of Rs 4 lakh from Prakash in July 2002 on execution of a promissory note.

In October 2002, she issued a cheque for Rs 2 lakh to repay the amount but it bounced due to insufficient funds in the account.

Despite being granted a further three months’ time after being served a legal notice, she failed to repay the amount.

Prakash filed a case under the Negotiable Instruments Act in Davanagere court which sentenced her to one-year simple imprisonment with Rs 5,000 fine.

The court had also directed her to pay Rs 2.20 lakh as compensation to Prakash.

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