AS INTRODUCED IN LOK SABHA

Bill No. 281 of 2017

THE NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2017

A

BILL

further to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

1. Short title and commencement.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-eighth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—

1. (1) This Act may be called the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2017.

(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

2. Insertion of new section 143A. Power to direct interim compensation.

In the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), after section 143, the following section shall be inserted, namely:—

‘‘143A (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Court trying an offence under section 138 may order the drawer of the cheque to pay interim compensation to the complainant—

(a) in a summary trial or a summons case, where he pleads not guilty to the accusation made in the complaint; and

(b) in any other case, upon framing of charge.

(2) The interim compensation under sub-section (1) shall not exceed twenty per cent of the amount of the cheque.

(3) The interim compensation shall be paid within sixty days from the date of the order under sub-section (1), or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the drawer of the cheque.

(4) If the drawer of the cheque is acquitted, the Court shall direct the complainant to repay to the drawer the amount of interim compensation, with interest at the bank rate as published by the Reserve Bank of India, prevalent at the beginning of the relevant financial year, within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the complainant.

(5) The interim compensation payable under this section may be recovered as if it were a fine under section 421 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

(6) The amount of fine imposed under section 138 or the amount of compensation awarded under section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, shall be reduced by the amount paid or recovered as interim compensation under this section.’’.

3. Insertion of new section 148. Power of Appellate Court to order payment pending appeal against conviction.

In the principal Act, after section 147, the following section shall be inserted, namely:—

‘‘148. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, in an appeal by the drawer against conviction under section 138, the Appellate Court may order the appellant to deposit such sum which shall be a minimum of  twenty per cent. of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial Court:

Provided that the amount payable under this sub-section shall be in addition to any interim compensation paid by the appellant under section 143A.

(2) The amount referred to in sub-section (1) shall be deposited within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the appellant.

(3) The Appellate Court may direct the release of the amount deposited by the appellant to the complainant at any time during the pendency of the appeal: Provided that if the appellant is acquitted, the Court shall direct the complainant to repay to the appellant the amount so released, with interest at the bank rate as published by the Reserve Bank of India, prevalent at the beginning of the relevant financial year, within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the complainant.’’.

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (the Act) was enacted to define and amend the law relating to Promissory Notes, Bills of Exchange and Cheques. The said Act has been amended from time to time so as to provide, inter alia, speedy disposal of cases relating to the offence of dishonour of cheques. However, 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. As a result of this, injustice is caused to the payee of a dishonoured cheque who has to spend considerable time and resources in court proceedings to realize the value of the cheque. Such delays compromise the sanctity of cheque transactions.

2. It is proposed to amend the said Act with a view to address the issue of undue delay in final resolution of cheque dishonor cases so as to provide relief to payees of dishonored cheques and to discourage frivolous and unnecessary litigation which would save time and money. The proposed amendments will strengthen the credibility of cheques and help trade and commerce in general by allowing lending institutions, including banks, to continue to extend financing to the productive sectors of the economy.

3. It is, therefore, proposed to introduce the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to provide, inter alia, for the following, namely:—

(i) to insert a new section 143A in the said Act to provide that the Court trying an offence under section 138 may order the drawer of the cheque to pay interim compensation to the complainant, in a summary trial or a summons case, where he pleads not guilty to the accusation made in the complaint; and in any other case, upon framing of charge. The interim compensation so payable shall be such sum not exceeding twenty per cent. of the amount of the cheque; and

(ii) to insert a new section 148 in the said Act so as to provide that in an appeal by the drawer against conviction under section 138, the Appellate Court may order the appellant to deposit such sum which shall be a minimum of twenty per cent. of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court.

4. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.

ARUN JAITLEY

NEW DELHI;

The 26th December, 2017.

LOK SABHA

A

BILL

further to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

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