In order to take stock of more than 3.3 lakh pending cheque bouncing cases in the city, and suggest remedial measures for speedy disposal of the cases, the Bombay High Court has appointed a three-member committee.
Acting on a public interest litigation filed by the Nasik District Industrial and Mercantile Co-operative Bank, a division bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Amjad Syed has directed the committee to submit its report within four weeks.
The committee will comprise of Director of Prosecution A N Nandapurkar, High Court Registrar (Legal and Research Department), Sangitrao Patil and Chief Metropolitan Magistrate S G Shete.
The committee, as directed by high court, will scrutinise the cheque bouncing cases across magistrate courts in the city till December 31, 2009 based on the institution, year and the amount involved. The committee will also try to find the major reasons leading to the huge backlog. The bench has noted in its order that in January 2005, the high court had directed the state to create 100 additional posts of judicial / metropolitan magistrates across the state only to deal with huge backlog of cheque bouncing cases.
The high court expected one magistrate to handle 4,000 cases and accordingly 100 new posts were to be created. However, in the Conference of Chief Justice, it was decided that one magistrate would handle 2,000 cheque-bouncing cases. Referring to this decision, the bench comprising Justice Marlapalle and Justice Syed observed, “It will be obvious that the backlog cannot be tackled only by increasing the judges.”
The bench also noted many cases were pending in Mumbai for more than 5 years, although the February 2003 amendment in the Negotiable Instruments Act required the courts to conclude the complaints within six months from the date of filing.