July 23, 2018
Kalyan Banerjee speaks on The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Honorable Deputy Speaker Sir, today we are discussing The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017. At the threshold I said that some beneficial provisions are needed. This is an addition, no doubt it is a good endeavor but the question is somewhere else. The question is that there are cases in relation to the Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 …a negotiable main Act when the complaint is lodged whether the trial has been taken place or not. And most of the cases year after year, time after time have been taken. Now there are so many deficiencies in the Negotiable Instruments Act, parent Act is concerned, 88. The Negotiable Instruments Act’s entire objective is that <interruptions> when a cheque is dishonored or bounced, the victim must get justice as quickly as possible. In fact, the victim to get justice, every criminal case, is a facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Now, incidentally and unfortunately the cases in relation to the Negotiable Instruments Act, where the cheques have bounced are not being taken up seriously even by the courts. These types of bounced sufferers are mostly middle-class, lower-middle-class people and poor people are suffering. In a small commercial transaction, I am not talking about the rich people, they are most sufferers. There is no time stipulation, although you are saying about that, it is a summary trial, but there is no time stipulation, no time has been stipulated in the Act itself as regards to how many days the trial has been completed. But when the matters come up in the fast court it takes up not so much seriousness.
Now you see, 135, the Amendment which has been sought for that A, 143(1a), in a summary trial summon case where he pleads not guilty to the acquisition made in the complaint. Until the summons are subbed they will not come. Now in these type of cases, the maximum persons really commits, they are masters of committing frauds, it is difficult to serve summons even against them. I appreciate your endeavor but in reality, it is difficult. I know that the systems of the Courts are not within your jurisdiction but since you are also part of the Minister of the Government itself, in that case the Court should be both serious in dealing with the negotiable instruments then. Facts and figures are being given to you, almost 20% cases in relation to the NI Act are pending before the Courts.
Now the question is the Fast Track Courts, it is often being said Sir, What is a Fast Track Court? Does it mean that the person who is handling normal cases you would be given Fast Track Court jurisdiction. The moment you would be speaking about the Fast Track Court, you must create the post for that Court. Otherwise it is futile to talk about any Fast Track Court itself. The trials are going on and on, it is not unknown that the under prisoners are languishing in the jails years after years. Therefore neither the victims is getting the justice nor the accused is getting the justice at all. Nobody is getting the justice because of the pendency of the cases and it is also correct that the criminal Courts of our country are overburdened. I will request you to consider, I am not telling that immediately you have to do. In this NI Act complaint has to be lodged to the appropriate Criminal Court, within certain time after the letters have been sent.
I will request you to consider in the future for the affected persons that instead of lodging complaint, along with lodging complaint may I make a provision to lodge a complaint with the concern police station also. If it’s done in the police station and when the notice will be served by the police, then the immediate steps are taken because police is the appropriate person who can catch the accused. But when summons are being served to the court the person who is committing the crime know how to avoid service of summons. In future we can cover that aspect also. Everybody is concerned in India about justice being delayed, justice either delayed or denied. If you look into the Supreme Court’s today’s position, seven or eight vacancies are there. High court vacancies are there and it’s more than 400 the exact figure I can’t say. Therefore the criminal trials similarly in the lower judiciary. I am fully supporting these things. There is no problem. But since I got the chance as you are here we have to think about how to deliver the justice fast. Until the person concerned appears before the criminal court, the getting of 20% compensation doesn’t arise at all.
Now kindly come to Clause 3 of the Bill. There, when the appeal will be preferred, then in that case the person concerned has to deposit such sum which shall be minimum of 20% of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court. Only 20%? Is this amount sufficient? No, it leads to discretion. Now in the criminal court, trial court first is one has to suffer for four years to five years. Then after five years in the appeal court. In the appeal court 20% have to be deposited, why not 100% or 50%? Think about that, please. And kindly see, here, the deposition would be made would not compulsorily given to the victim. Because the Clause says –Clause:C- Sub-Clause:3- The appellate court may direct the release of the amount deposited by the appellant. May direct means it is not mandatory, it remains on the discretion of the appellate court. Now when admittedly cheque has been given, there must have been some due. If that’s so why at the stage of appeal, the appellate court, when appeal will be filed, why 100% would not be deposited instead of minimum 20%? Because in the trial court, when the trial will take place one has to say he has to put the signature in the cheque itself or not? The questions is why the cheque has been paid, the question is why the cheque has not been paid; reasonableness of the issuance of the cheque; that would not be the subject matter of the court itself. Whether the cheque issued or not, that’s the question, therefore the signature is the only question. If that’s so when you are thinking, kindly think about this also. Why nearly 100% amount will not be deposited in the appellate court at the time of admission of the appeal or before granting bail, condition should be imposed that amount should be given to the affected person concerned.
Therefore Sir, I will request you to consider these aspects of the matter because in my experience only the middle class people is mostly suffering in these matters, the poor people are suffering. In future kindly think about that. With this, I conclude. Endeavour is good; more endeavors are to be taken for thinking about the victims, therefore please think about that.