A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan, while hearing a public interest petition earlier this week, said: “We direct return of complaints of cheque bounce cases without jurisdiction.”
“Courts are flooded with complaints that cannot be entertained and thus unnecessarily clogging the dockets of the subordinate courts. In fact, judges are not able to dispose of other cases within their jurisdiction as their whole time goes waste in dealing with cases of cheque bounce that are beyond their jurisdiction,” the bench said.
The court was hearing the plea of Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority (DHCLSA) which said that all cases of cheque bounce out of Delhi’s jurisdiction should be returned.
Jyoti Singh appearing for DHCLSA submitted before the court that a large number of cases have been filed by various institutions, banks and other complainants under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for their own convenience.
“The case has been filed without even seeing the jurisdiction or it has been overlooked as the accused are staying in far off states like Kerala,” she said.
“Disposal of such complaints without jurisdiction takes a lot of time as in most of the matters the accused are either not served the notice, or where they are served, they do not appear before the court because the amount involved is so small that accused thinks that he would have to spend more money in reaching Delhi and contesting the matter,” she added.
Agreeing with the counsel’s submission the court said: “The cheque bounce cases where Delhi courts have no jurisdiction have affected the work badly and the accused are suffering harassment as they have to travel long distances at heavy costs to defend their cases.”
The growing cheque bounce cases had also forced the Delhi Legal Services Authority to hold Lok Adalats (peoples’ court) regularly.