Question – what happens when a complainant dies in the case of the negotiable Instrument Act? – The answer to the question is yes. As per the legal preposition, on the Death of the complainant in a summons case, the court can permit the legal representative to continue the complaint. That action of the court can not be treated as bad in the eyes of the law.
Before we get the perfect answer to the question, let’s refer to some legal propositions regarding If Death of a complainant. Can the legal heir of the deceased continue to proceed in the cheque bounce case U/s.138 of NI Act?
Sometimes, the complainant dies during the trial of the cheque bounce case, which he files. Then the pendency of the trial the legal heir of the complainant can approach the court to allow him to continue the said proceedings. The court has the power to grant such a type of application under section 302 of the Criminal procedure code,1974. After granting the court’s permission, the legal heir of the complainant can proceed to the trial of S.138 of the NI Act.
Now, to better understand the answer, let’s see which provisions and sections are involved in determining where the legal heir of the complainant can continue to proceed with the complaint that the deceased complainant files.
What does Section 256 of the CrPC say?
Section 256 of CrPC deals with the non-appearance or death of the complainant in the summons cases which trial by the magistrate.
If there is no proper ground to adjourn the case for hearing in the summons case, the court can not acquit the accused under section 256(1) of the CrPC. The magistrate is empowered to continue the case even if the complainant dies during the pendency of the criminal case.
The court is authorized to exercise power under s.256(2) of CrPC in the event of the death of the complainant. The magistrate can not use ipso-facto to terminate the criminal proceedings. The court can exercise its power U/s 302 of the criminal procedure code by allowing any person or prosecution agency for the act of the criminal case. The complaint can not be dismissed, or the accused can not be acquitted or discharged under section 256 or 258 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In the case of Ashwin Nanubhai Vyas vs. The State of Maharashtra and Anr. (AIR 1967 SC 983), the Supreme Court rightly observed that the magistrate has the power to grant permission to a relative to act as the complainant and continue to proceed with the case..
In the case of Jimmy Jahangir Madan vs. Bolly Cariyappa Hindley (2004 (12) SCC 509), the Supreme Court held that the heirs of the deceased complainant are allowed to file an application under section 302 of the Crpc to continue to proceed with the trial..
What does Section 302 of the CrPC say?
The provision of this section is easily described in the case of Kushal Kumar Talukdar vs. Chandra Prasad Goenka (2005 CRI. L. J. 599). The Gauhati High Court rightly observed that if the complainant dies during the trial, the magistrate can not proceed on the ground that the deceased- complainant appointed the pleader. But for the end of the justice, the magistrate allows him if the pleader wishes to represent behalf of a deceased complainant who died during the trial. The magistrate has power under s.302 of the CrPC. To allow any person, including the pleader, to conduct the act upon trial. However, the appearance person can not complete the case as a deceased pleader, but he can proceed as a person which the court permits for the prosecution purpose.
Here the role of the pleader is changed; he does appear on the base of permission given by the magistrate under the provision of s.302 of the act. But not as a pleader who is appointed by the deceased compliant..
In the case of Om saran vs. Mrs.Satya Dhawan (1990 CriLJ 1619), the Delhi High court held that, if the complainant did not appear in the court or if died during the pendency of the trial. The magistrate has to decide the accused can be acquittal or not with proper reason. The magistrate can continue such proceedings against the accused and can adjourn the case in the event of died of the complainant of the case..
Now the question of if the heirs of the complainant can be allowed to continue the trial. The answer is given in the above discussion in detail that; under section 302 of the CrPC, the magistrate has authority to grant a relative of the complainant to continue if the complainant died during the pendency of the trial. So now we can say that if a complainant dies in the case of the negotiable Instrument Act, any person or representative of the deceased complainant can continue the trial with the court’s permission and continue to act and prosecute the case.
(1) Ashwin Nanubhai Vyas vs The State of Maharashtra and Anr. (AIR 1967 SC 983).
(2) Jimmy Jahangir Madan vs Bolly Cariyappa Hindley (2004 (12) SCC 509).
(3) Kushal Kumar Talukdar vs. Chandra Prasad Goenka (2005 CRI. L. J. 599).
(4) Om saran vs Mrs.Satya Dhawan (1990 CriLJ 1619).