New Cheque Bounce Provisions- 143A & 148
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill was put forth before the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister on January 2, 2018.
AIM- It aims to meet the following:
1. reducing the undue delay in the cheque dishonor cases and,
2. provision for payment of interim compensation to the complainants.
OBJECT - Ease of doing business is the main object of the Bill. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill is produced herein below;
“The Central Government has been receiving several representations from the public including trading community relating to pendency of cheque dishonour cases. This is because of delay tactics of unscrupulous drawers of dishonoured cheques due to easy filing of appeals and obtaining stay on proceedings”
Two new Sections i.e 143A and 148 has been proposed to be inserted under the NI Act,1881:
1. Section 143A- It empowers the Court to order the drawer of the cheque to pay Interim Compensation to the complainant:
i. In case of a summary trial or a summons case, where the drawer pleads not guilty to the allegations made in the complaint, and
ii. In any other case, upon framing of the charges.
Quantum of Compensation- The amount shall not exceed 20% of the amount of the Cheque.
2. Section 148 – It empowers the Appellate Court to order payment pending the appeal against conviction.
The Appellate Court may order the appellant to deposit an amount which shall be a minimum of 20% of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial Court.
This amount shall be in addition to the amount already paid by the appellant under Section 143A.
This deposit may be released by an order for payment to the complainant at anytime during the pendency of the appeal.
The amendment comes across as a relief for the Payee of the Cheque, who has to spend a significant amount of time and energy in the court to recover the money due to him in a Cheque bounce case.
It is pertinent to note that of late the recovery provisions have been strengthened so that business community is relieved and safeguarded from undue hardship.
Kamya Shah, Associate, AMLEGALS