Supreme Court issues directions for accelerating trials of cheque dishonour cases

cheque bounced Law Insider
cheque bounced Law Insider

Kareena Eugene

On Friday, a constitution of Bench consisting of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai. A. S. Bopanna and S. Ravindra Bhat in a case related to Suo-moto ‘In Re: Expeditious Trial of Cases under Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act’.

The Court issued a set of directions to speed up the trial of cheque dishonour cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The directions given were as follows:

  1. High Courts are to issue practice directions to the Magistrates regarding the conversion of summary trial to summons trial.
  2. The Magistrate shall hold enquiry under Section 202 of CrPC before issuing summons to an accused who is residing beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Court.
  3. Evidence on affidavit is permitted for enquiry under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  4. Suitable amendments to NI Act recommended to allow one trial for multiple cases arising out of the same transaction, notwithstanding the bar under CrPC.
  5. High Courts to issue practice directions to Magistrates to treat service of summons in one case as deemed service against the accused in all other complaints arising out of the same transaction.
  6. The Magistrates have no inherent power to review or recall issue of summons.
  7. Section 258 CrPC is not applicable to proceedings under Section 138 NI Act.
  8. Suitable amendments recommended to empower the Magistrate to recall and re-examine summons.

The Court had passed these directions adding some of the recommendations that were made in the preliminary report submitted by Senior Advocates Siddharth Luthra, R. Basant and Advocate K. Parameshwar, who were appointed as amicus curiae in the case.

They submitted a preliminary report after consulting High Courts and States.

On 10th March 2021, the Bench had formed a Committee of experts. This was headed by the former Bombay High Court Judge Justice R.C. Chavan. The Committee formed suggested steps to accelerate the trial in cheque dishonour case.

Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, while reading out the operative portions of the judgement said that, ‘the suggestions in the preliminary report, which have not been considered by the Court, will be subject to further deliberations by the Committee’.

During the hearing, the Bench also observed prima facie. the Bench said that, ‘the Central Government has the obligation to create additional Courts to ease the burden created on the judicial system by the Negotiable Instruments Acts, as per the mandate of Article 247 of the Indian Constitution’.

On 7th March 2020, the Bench of CJI Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao registered a case related to Suo-moto to devise methods for expeditious trial of Section 138 NI Act cases.

The case will be listed after eight weeks.

Related Post