The Lok Sabha has approved a bill that allows a cheque bouncing case to be filed at the place where it is presented for clearance and not where it’s issued, improving the redress available in such instances.
The amendments to the Negotiable Instruments Act will have implications for over 18-lakh cheque bounce cases pending in various courts, minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said while piloting the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill 2015 in the House.
The bill seeks to replace an ordinance that was re-promulgated earlier. Though the bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in the budget session, it could not be approved by the Rajya Sabha, leading to the repromulgation. “It is a small bill but has profound implications for the economy… It will further enable enforcement of contracts,” Sinha said, adding that the measure will help small traders and large corporates, especially telecom companies, which are facing a large backlog of cheque bouncing cases.
Responding to members’ concerns for a timeframe to deal with such cases, finance minister Arun Jaitley intervened during the discussion to say that though there was no timeframe, the Act did provide procedures for resolution of such disputes and the onus on following them was on the courts.
He further said the courts could send summons or notices through email or any speedy mode of communication to expedite resolution of disputes.
Jaitley was responding to concerns expressed by some members that the practice of issuing summons through the postal department was resulting in delays in resolution of cheque bouncing cases. With regard to the demand of members for attachment of properties of defaulters, Jaitley said it was possible in civil cases but could not be done in criminal cases.