Trial of cheque bounce case

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Question From: Criminal Law (NI Act)

I like to file a check bounce case in fast track court.

a. Is there any specific procedure for applying a case in fast track court?

b. Will I get a quick judgement than the normal court?( I have heard check bounce cases pending for 3 years in normal court)

c. is it possible to convert cases from normal court to fast track court?

Cheque bounce case is registered on complaint. The court of first class judicial magistrate has jurisdiction to try these cases. Fast track courts are constituted by the court of sessions. There is no provision in law to try offences under section 138 NI Act i.e. cheque bounce case, before fast track court.

Usually the time prescribed by the Act for fast disposal in Section 138 matters is 6 months (S. 143 N.I. Act, 1881) but unfortunately the matters are not disposed within the said time frame as the courts are flooded with matters. Some states like Delhi, there is some special courts are constituted for fast disposal of cases registered under section 138  NI Act. The minimum time period for a trial to end in a cheque bounce case is 2-3 years.

In J.V. BAHARUNI & ANR. Vs STATE OF GUJARAT & Others AIR 2014 the Supreme court of India has given some guidelines towards cheque bounce case as:

  • All the subordinate Courts must make an endeavour to expedite the hearing of cases in a time bound manner which in turn will restore the confidence of the common man in the justice delivery system. When law expects something to be done within prescribed time limit, some efforts are required to be made to obey the mandate of law.
  • The learned Magistrate has the discretion under Section 143 of the N.I. Act either to follow a summary trial or summons trial. In case the Magistrate wants to conduct a summons trial, he should record the reasons after hearing the parties and proceed with the trial in the manner provided under the second proviso to Section 143 of the N.I. Act. Such reasons should necessarily  be recorded by the Trial Court so that further litigation arraigning the mode of trial can be avoided.
  • The learned Judicial Magistrate should make all possible attempts to encourage compounding of offence at an early stage of litigation. In a prosecution under the Negotiable Instruments Act, the compensatory aspect of remedy must be given priority over the punitive aspect.
  • Remitting the matter for de novo trial should be exercised as a last resort and should be used sparingly when there is grave miscarriage of justice in the light of illegality, irregularity, incompetence or any other defect which cannot be cured at an appellate stage. The appellate Court should be very cautious and exercise the discretion judiciously while remanding the matter for de novo trial.

Some endeavors have been taken by the apex court for fast disposal of offences punishable under NI Act. But no provision is made towards trial of these offences by the fast track courts.

Image courtesy : google.com 

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