Economic slowdown has further burdened the judiciary with cheque-bouncing almost doubling last year as compared to 2007.
The number of cheque-bouncing cases has increased steeply in the second half of 2008, when the global meltdown has actually started showing its affect.
Statistics show that in 2008, the Mumbai courts received 1,14,328 cases of dishonoured cheques as compared to 58,752 cases in 2007. This means, 2008 saw more than 300 cases of cheque-bouncing registered every day in Mumbai.
The payment defaults increased from August when the slowdown severely started hitting the Indian economy. In the second half of last year, Mumbai saw an average of 12,627 cases filed every month in various courts. As compared to this, the first half of 2008, on average witnessed only 7,320 cases per month.
Legal experts said that there is a huge increase in the payment defaults to banks besides that in regular business transactions. “I see an average of 15 cases of cheque-bouncing filed by banks in a single metropolitan court daily,” said Advocate Pankaj Bafna, who is handling many such cases.
He added that increased number of cheque-bouncing cases are coming to judiciary despite hike in court fee from September last year. The court fee for cheque-bouncing cases was only Rs 200 earlier which was from September increased to two per cent of the amount involved. However, the minimum fees is kept at Rs 200.
Statistics show that last year, 2,28,750 cases of cheque-bouncing were pending in Mumbai courts. The year 2008 witnessed disposal of only 41,599 cases.
Bafna said a few months back the Supreme Court has ordered faster disposal of cheque bouncing cases. The apex court ordered that cheque-bouncing cases should be disposed off in two years.