3.8 million and counting: Moily demands special courts for cheque dishonour cases

That the credibility of a cheque has eroded over the last few years is no secret. The Law Commission’s 213th report on the Fast Track Magisterial Courts for Dishonoured Cheque Cases reports over 38 lakh (3.8 million) cases relating to the dishonour of cheques pending in trial courts across the country. The report goes on to observe that the increased instances of dishonouring cheques has led to a loss in business and a consequent loss of confidence in the financial instrument.

The Report reveals that a majority of the cases pending before the criminal courts are the ‘cheque-bounce’ cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act and cases under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, dealing with dowry.  

The Eleventh Finance Commission has recommended a scheme for creating 1,734 Fast Track Courts for disposing long pending sessions and other cases. The Ministry of Finance had sanctioned an amount of Rs. 502.90 crores ($111 million) as a 'Special problem and up- gradation Grant for judicial administration’. The 5-year scheme saw the disposal of 10.66 lakh (1.06 million) cases of the pending 18.46 lakh (1.8 Million) cases.

After the second installment of the scheme expired earlier this year on March 31, Law Minister Veerappa Moily wrote to the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, stressing on the need to set up special courts and extend a similar scheme and budgetary allocation. In his letter to the finance minister, Moily referred to the Law Commission’s report and also brought up the subject of the Judicial Impact Assessment.

Judicial impact assessment is essentially a study of the impact on judicial resources when a new legislation is introduced or an existing legislation is modified. The assessment aims to cut costs substantially if a legislation is examined internally by the concerned government departments before being introduced.

Judicial Impact Assessment was first raised by former Union Law Secretary, T.K. Vishwanathan who set up a task force in response to a directive of the Supreme Court, in the case of Salem Advocates Bar Association v. Union of India to study the judicial impact assessment, with former Supreme Court judge, Justice M. Jagannadha Rao as its chairman. With statistics pegging the number of pending cases at 5,14,433 in Delhi, 1,51,759 in Mumbai, 73,000 cases in Bangalore and 84,000 in Ahmedabad, it is high time we have special courts to deal with this menace.
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Published in Criminal Law
Source : Bar & Bench, http://barandbench.com/index.php?title=3.8%20million%20and%20counting:%20Moily%20demands%20special%20courts%20for%20cheque%20dishonour%20cases&page=brief&id=758&gn=0
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