Lays stress on expeditious trial, reduction in pendency of such cases
New Delhi, April 1 (Delhi Crown): The Supreme Court of India has directed all high courts to file a “status report” regarding compliance of directions issued by it one year ago to expedite the trial of cheque dishonour cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (NI Act).
The Apex Court had issued a slew of directions on April 16 last year.
A SC bench comprising Justices Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and Ravindra asked Amicus Curie Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra to formulate a model scheme which can be examined by the Court, after the latter submitted before the court that already there is a huge pendency in such cases.
The Amicus Curie suggested that such pending cases may be put to online mediation in a bid to expedite their trial.
“There’s a large number of pendency already. Our suggestion is these cases may be put for online mediation so matters can be resolved. At times what happens is parties want to settle and invariably there’s gap within the system. If this scheme is put in place with time bound mediation, number of these cases will be reduced,” Advocate Luthra said.
The Bench then asked the Amicus Curie to formulate a model scheme which can be examined by the Court. “Come up with model scheme then we can ask High Courts to replicate or issue schemes on their own. Show the elements of the scheme,” Justice Nageswara Rao said.
Last year on March 10 the Court had directed the formation of a Committee under Chairmanship of former Bombay High Court judge Justice R.C. Chavan to consider steps to be taken for expeditious disposal of cheque bounce cases under Section 138 of the NI Act.
The Court had found it appropriate to form a committee to consider all the suggestions made and submit a report clearly specifying the steps that must be taken to facilitate an early disposal of these cases through the country at all levels of judiciary.
The Committee was asked to consult any expert it wishes to in the matter, and submit its report in 3 months of its first meeting.
The Court had also asked the Union Government to provide such secretarial assistance, including whole time or part time Secretary to the Committee, allocate space for functioning of committee and provide for allowances that may be necessary.
It was on March 7 last year that the bench of CJI Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao registered the suo moto case to devise methods for expeditious trial of Section 138 NI Act cases.