|Case name||M. Mallika v/s Kasi Pillai|
|Case number||Special Appeal No. 740 of 2015|
|Court||Madras High Court|
|Decided on||June 21, 2019|
|Relevant Act/Sections||Negotiable Instruments Act, – Section 87; The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 – Section 72. Section 73. Section 120|
|Author of case brief||Bhavisha Sharma ([email protected])|
Brief Facts and Procedural History:
The Petitioner claims that the Respondent had executed a promissory note in the former’s favour. She filed an application before the District Munsif Court for its execution after a notice issued by her to the Respondent returned unserved. The Respondent denied execution of the note claiming it to be a fraudulent document.
The District Munsif Court compared the signature of the promissory note under Section 73 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 with a Vakaltnama. Holding it to be the true signature of the Respondent, it ordered the note to be executed by him. The Respondent appealed against this order with the Sub Court. Allowing the appeal, the court held that the note has been materially altered, the note was decreed as void. The Petitioner has appealed against that order in the present case.
Issue before the High Court:
Does the alteration on the note due to the usage of two different colours of ink amount to a material alteration under Section 87 of the Negotiable Instruments Act?
Ratio of the Court:
Yes. The court observed that though the note was printed, the amount is majorly written in green ink but the first digit of the number was in blue ink. The names of the parties were written in green, but that of witnesses and the date was again in blue ink. The Petitioner failed to provide any explanation for why the note was filled in two different inks. Specifically, the court observed, the writing of the amount in two different inks casts serious doubt over the authenticity of the note. Thus, the same shall be categorized as a material alteration under the provisions of the NI Act.
The High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the order passed by the first appellate court (Sub-court). It held that the subordinate court had the jurisdiction to examine the authenticity of the note including the evidence of the case, and has exercised its power under Section 73 judiciously. Thus, the court found no reason to interfere with the order passed by it.