Reinforcing the significance of speedy disposal of matters, the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday directed a trial court to dispose of the impugned dishonor of cheque proceedings within six months.
A petition seeking directions in this behalf was filed to seek disposal of proceedings in the case "Asian Galaxy Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v. Sidhivinayak Electric Traders Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.". The said case had been filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, in 2017.
Asserting that as per Section 143(3) of the NI Act, the matter should ideally have been disposed of within six months of filing, the Applicant prayed that directions in that behalf be made to the trial court.
Section 143(3) states,
"Every trial under this Section shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible expeditiously as possible and an endeavour shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date of filing of the complaint."
Noting that "Speedy justice is one of the fundamental rights of a person guaranteed under the Constitution of India", Justice R. C. Khulbe made the aforesaid directions. He said,
"The present criminal misc. application filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is disposed of with a direction to the Court below to decide the Case No.171 of 2017, "Asian Galaxy Pvt. Ltd. & another Vs. Sidhivinayak Electric Traders Pvt. Ltd. and others" (U/s 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881) in the light of provisions of Section 143 (3) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 within a period of six months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order."
Last year, the Supreme Court had directed the Registrar Generals of all the high courts to report about steps taken by high courts for speedy disposal of cheque cases and also about the procedure of dealing such cases online.
These directions were issued in view of the judgment rendered in Meters & Instruments Private Limited & Anr. v. Kanchan Mehta, (2018 (1) SCC 560), whereby the Apex Court had held that a trial under Section 183 of NI Act has to proceed on day to day basis with endeavour to conclude the same within six months. It had also clarified therein that an accused in a case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act can be discharged even without the consent of the complainant, if the court is satisfied that the complainant has been duly compensated.
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