Offences that are committed as part of the ‘same transaction’ can be tried jointly as per Section 220 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. What is meant by ‘same transaction’ is not defined and it seems to us to be a difficult task to undertake a definition. We have not come across a single decision of any Court.
Courts continue to struggle with humongous pendency under Section 138 of The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. If several acts committed by a person show a unity of purpose or design, it would be a strong circumstance to indicate those acts form part of the ‘same transaction’ [State of Andhra Pradesh v. Cheemalapati Ganeswara Rao, (1964) 3 SCR 297]. There is no ambiguity in Section 220 in accordance with which several cheques issued as a part of the ‘same transaction’ can be the subject matter of one trial.
– Five-Judge Bench, In Re: Expeditious Trial of Cases under Section 138 of The NI Act, [Suo Motu Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 2 of 2020].
Mohan Baitha v. State of Bihar, (2001) 4 SCC 350 observed, the expression ‘same transaction’, from its very nature, was incapable of an exact definition and it was not possible to enunciate any comprehensive formula of universal application. Mohan Baitha has further been referred to and relied upon in Anju Chaudhary v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2013) 6 SCC 384. Mohan Baitha and Anju Chaudhary have underscored, the expression ‘same transaction’ seems to have vague underpinnings. However, when core elements [proximity of time, unity or proximity of place, continuity of action and community of purpose or design] are applied to common sense and ordinary use of language, vexed question of ‘same transaction’ could be reasonably determined.
– Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Ms. P v. State of Uttarakhand, [Criminal Appeal No. 903 of 2022] decided on 16.06.2022.