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Evening courts a hit with people

The Delhi High Court’s initiative to start evening courts at Patiala House and Karkardooma Courts to clear backlog of a staggering over 5.14 lakh cheque bouncing cases is yielding positive results, reports Sumit Saxena.

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2008 00:17 IST
Sumit Saxena

The Delhi High Court’s initiative to start evening courts at Patiala House and Karkardooma Courts to clear backlog of a staggering over 5.14 lakh cheque bouncing cases is yielding positive results.

The three evening courts headed by separate metropolitan magistrates have already disposed of 780 cases out of the 1,558 odd cases taken up for

hearing since November 12, when they started functioning in Delhi.

The success of evening courts has come as a great relief to litigants tired of making endless rounds of courts, which are often forced to adjourn the case due to paucity of time to take up an unrealistically high number of cases on a given day.

Litigants have literally grabbed the opportunity by accepting the court’s suggestion to enter into a compromise with other party by paying a mutually acceptable amount.

“We are getting quick justice in cheque bounce cases filed by financial institutions. Rather than evading the judicial proceeding, the accused are

deposing before the judges to resolve the matter as soon as possible,” said advocate Tabrez Ahmed, who represented a stock trader.

These courts are exclusively dealing with complaint cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (for dishonour of cheques) filed by financial institutions. Three evening courts are functional at Patiala House and Kakardooma, and a maximum of 25 cases are listed every day before each of these courts.

Metropolitan magistrates on rotation are empowered to decide cases involving an amount of more than Rs 25,000. These cases have been transferred from the magisterial courts.

The experiment of evening courts started first in Gujarat in November 2006 to clear the backlog of cases involving petty offences so that judges could concentrate on cases of heinous crimes during daytime.

Appreciating the initiative, advocate Rajesh Kumar said: “Judges are quickly disposing of cases rather than giving future dates. Specially in cheque bounce cases, the accused are appearing for hearing, and even responding to judge’s suggestion, and not merely extending the date.”