New Delhi, March 10 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday constituted a committee headed by former Bombay High Court judge to explore measures for early disposal of cheque bounce cases across the country.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde decided to set up a committee after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, agreed in principle to the court’s suggestion to establish additional courts for expeditious trial of cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act.
The bench, also comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai, A.S. Bopanna and S. Ravindra Bhat, noted that cheque bounce cases constitute almost 30 per cent of total pendency of cases at trial courts and High Courts. The bench added this pendency is causing a logjam at all levels, particularly at the trial court and High Court levels.
“The Union of India has responded positively to the suggestion of this court for establishment of additional courts for better administration of cases under NI Act. The Solicitor General in principle accepted the need for establishment of such courts, after the modalities are worked out”, said the bench.
The top court said former judge of Bombay High Court Justice R.C. Chavan will be the chairman of the committee. The other members of committee include officer from the Department of Financial Services not below the rank of Additional Secretary; officers from Department of justice, corporate affairs, expenditure, Ministry of Home Affairs, member nominated by RBI governor etc.
The top court’s decision has come in the suo motu case to work out a mechanism for expeditious and just adjudication of cases connected with dishonoured cheques.
The committee would have to submit a report within three months. The top court asked Mehta to submit the names of other members of the committee by March 12. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra had assisted the court as amicus curiae in the matter.
The top court had told the Centre that under Article 247 of the Constitution, it has the power to establish additional courts to deal with cheque dishonour cases under provisions of Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act.
“There is no doubt or dispute about the fact that matters under the N.I. Act have posed what by now has become an intractable problem/accounting for close to 30 to 40 per cent of the pendency in the trial courts and a very high percentage in the High Courts also”, the bench had observed in a previous hearing.