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Provision of one trial against a person for multiple offences u/s 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 should be made: SC

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Court :
Supreme Court of India

Brief :
Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 5464 of 2016 pertains to dishonour of two cheques on 27.01.2005 for an amount of Rs.1,70,000/-. The dispute has remained pending for the past 16 years. Concerned with the large number of cases filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (hereinafter 'the Act') pending at various levels, a Division Bench of this Court consisting of two of us (the Chief Justice of India and L. Nageswara Rao, J.) decided to examine the reasons for the delay in disposal of these cases.

Citation :
SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CRL.) NO.2 OF 2020

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

SUO MOTU WRIT PETITION (CRL.) NO.2 OF 2020

In Re: EXPEDITIOUS TRIAL OF CASES UNDER SECTION
138 OF N.I. ACT 1881.

O R D E R

1. Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 5464 of 2016 pertains to dishonour of two cheques on 27.01.2005 for an amount of Rs.1,70,000/-. The dispute has remained pending for the past 16 years. Concerned with the large number of cases filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (hereinafter 'the Act') pending at various levels, a Division Bench of this Court consisting of two of us (the Chief Justice of India and L. Nageswara Rao, J.) decided to examine the reasons for the delay in disposal of these cases. The Registry was directed to register a Suo Motu Writ Petition (Criminal) captioned as “Expeditious Trial of Cases under Section 138 of N.I. Act 1881”. Mr. Sidharth Luthra, learned Senior Counsel was appointed as Amicus Curiae and Mr. K. Parameshwar, learned Counsel was requested to assist him. Notices were issued to the Union of India, Registrar Generals of the High Courts, Director Generals of Police of the States and Union Territories, Member Secretary of the National Legal Services Authority, Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks’ Association, Mumbai as the representative of banking institutions.

2. The learned Amici Curiae submitted a preliminary report on 11.10.2020 which was circulated to all the Respondents. On 19.01.2021, the learned Amici Curiae informed this Court that only 14 out of 25 High Courts had submitted their responses to the preliminary report. The Reserve Bank of India had also filed its suggestions. Seven Directors General of Police had filed their affidavits putting forward their views to the preliminary report. The parties who had not filed their responses were granted further time and the matter was listed on 24.02.2021 for final disposal. During the course of the hearing, it was felt by a Bench of three Judges, consisting of the Chief Justice of India, L. Nageswara Rao, J. and S. Ravindra Bhat, J. that the matter had to be considered by a larger bench in view of the important issues that arose for determination before this Court.

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on 05 May 2021
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