The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed eight directors of the Secunderabad-based newspaper publishing house Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) to appear before the Chandigarh judicial magistrate on May 18 in a Rs 6-crore cheque bounce case.
The court headed by justice Mahesh Grover ordered that if the DCHL directors follow the process of law and appear before the judicial magistrate, the court shall consider their application for exemption of personal presence during the case hearings.
The directions came on a petition moved by the DCHL directors against non-bailable warrants issued against them by the Chandigarh judicial magistrate on March 23 on a petition filed by Religare Enterprises, alleging that cheques issued by the DCHL on account of repayment of loans to its financial services arm Religare Finvest had bounced. The directors include T Venkatram Reddy, T Vinayaka Ravi Reddy, PK Iyer, G Kumar, M Sukumar Reddy, Venkaparamani Suresh, Karthik Iyer Parasuraman and Pendyal Siddhartha. The four cheques worth Rs 6 crore that were bounced were issued in favour of Religare Finvest on July 1 and August 1, 2012.
The petitioners have requested the high court to quash the complaint dated October 12, 2012, under sections 138 and 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, pending in the Chandigarh district court. The petitioners have also sought quashing of the summoning orders issued by the judicial magistrate on October 15, 2012, and quashing of non-bailable warrants issued to them on March 23. The high court had also been requested to stay further proceedings in the criminal complaint before the Chandigarh judicial magistrate till the pendency of the case in the high court.
The petitioners have contended that their loan agreement with Religare shows that as per term and conditions, both parties had agreed to the exclusive jurisdiction of courts at New Delhi only. Hence, the Chandigarh trial court has ignored the clause of loan agreement and illegally issued summon orders and non-bailable warrants.
The case would now come up for hearing before the high court on July 19.