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Visakhapatnam courts deal with 5-6 cheque bounce cases daily

Visakhapatnam: At least five to six cheque bounce cases are filed at the district court here daily under sections 138 and 142 of the Negotiable Instruments Act with around two convictions per day.
Such cases are filed at the metropolitan magistrate’s court and later transferred to one of the six special magistrate’s (retired district judge) court and should be disposed of within six months to one year. With all the courts getting at least one or two cheque bounce cases daily, the number of cases on an average go up to 200 to 250 per month and the bounced amount range from thousands to several lakhs of rupees and are mostly concerned with home loans, real estate and business transactions.
Cheque bounce cases entails imprisonment up to two years and fine of almost double the amount that has bounced.
As for the police, they cannot initiate action against defaulters unless directed by the court as such cases should reach the police only through the court.
On Wednesday, a cheque bounce case came up for hearing at the sixth special magistrate court where the defaulter was asked to pay up Rs 15,000 as fine to the court and Rs 1.85 lakh as compensation to the victim. Failing to pay the compensation would entail four months in jail and non-payment of the fine would result in another three weeks of imprisonment for the defaulter. However, if the defaulter promptly pays the fine amount, he can appeal to the higher court and seek time to pay the compensation amount.
Senior advocate and president of the Forum of Legal Professionals Kupilli Muralidhar said, “Given the rise in cheque bounce cases, online money transfer methods are a better option. Thousands of cases lie pending in various courts mainly due to dearth of special magistrates who are supposed to deal with them as per the 13th Finance Commission. Senior advocates should also be made eligible to deal with these cases so that cases don’t pile up.”
Even for Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRT), there’s no judge for Vizag. Once a month, a judge from Kolkata comes for three days and cases of immediate nature are taken up while old cases keep piling up and get adjourned, he added.

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