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Over 33 Lakh Cheque Cases Pending In Country; Pendency Rose By Over 7 Lakh In Last 5 Months : Amici Report In Supreme Court [Read Report]

Srishti Ojha
30 April 2022 2:18 PM GMT
Over 33 Lakh Cheque Cases Pending In Country; Pendency Rose By Over 7 Lakh In Last 5 Months : Amici Report In Supreme Court [Read Report]
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The report stated that cheque dishonour cases account for 8.81% of total criminal cases.

In the suo motu case taken by the Supreme Court with respect to expeditious trial of cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the Amici Curiae reported that there has been an increase in pendency of 7,37,124 cheque dishonour cases in a period of just over 5 months.The Amici informed that the pendency of cases under the Act has increased from 26,07,166 in last November last...

In the suo motu case taken by the Supreme Court with respect to expeditious trial of cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the Amici Curiae reported that there has been an increase in pendency of 7,37,124 cheque dishonour cases in a period of just over 5 months.

The Amici informed that the pendency of cases under the Act has increased from 26,07,166 in last November last year to 33,44,290 as on April 13, 2022.

It has been submitted that as per the data available on 8th November 2021, the NI Act cases contribute to 8.81% of the total criminal cases pending in the courts. Further, 11.82% of the total criminal cases that are stagnating due to appearance or service related issues are NI Act cases.

These statistics are based on the data available after the submission of report of the Expert Committee constituted by the court under Chairmanship of former Bombay High Court judge Justice RC Chavan to consider steps to be taken for expeditious disposal of cheque bounce cases.

Pursuant to the committee's report, a note has been submitted by Amici Curiae – Sr. Adv Sidharth Luthra, and Advocate K Parameshwar- highlighting the gravity of the issue of increasing pendency of NI Act cases.

The Amici Curiae further informed the court that as per the NJDG DATA – for the period 01.01.2021- 31.12.2021, a total of 6,88,751 cases were instituted under the NI Act, 4,78,377 cases were disposed of and 33,44,290 are still pending

The States with the highest pendency of cases are Rajasthan with 4,79,774 pending cases, Gujarat with 4,37,979, Delhi with 4,08,992 and Uttar Pradesh with 2,66,777 pending cases

According to the Amici Curiae, therefore the singular features of NI Act cases which lead to increased pendency need to be examined.


The amici curiae have also filed the following response with their suggestions to the report of the Expert Committee on three aspects including(i) mediation, (ii) creation of a National Portal for Summons and (iii) the Scheme for establishment of special courts.

  • Service of summons under Chapter VI, Part A (Section 61-69, Cr.P.C) on the proper address of the accused is a considerable concern (and cause for delays) and therefore, a pre-prosecution mediation would entail service of mediation notice and the conduct of pre-summons mediation before the 75 days and would also pose considerable challenges.
  • Though many High Courts have stated that the time taken in mediation may be a reason to condone delay under Section 142, this issue itself will generate systemic delays and extensive litigation that would further burden the already overburdened courts.
  • Post-summons mediation, on the other hand, may not encounter such concerns except the issue of service because the settlement can be recorded in terms of compounding under Section 147 of the NI Act.
  • All mediation reports should be sent to the court so that actions for compounding the offence may be taken up by the court.
  • A scheme for mediation may be formulated and pending 138 cases, which are at the appeal, review or quashing (Section 482) stages, mandatorily be referred to the High Court annexed mediation centres after obtaining consent of parties. The mediation proceedings could be conducted online.
  • The response of the Union government may be sought immediately on the modality of operationalising such a National portal of summons since the NI Act is a Union legislation and the Union government would be best positioned to assist on this issue.
  • Special NI Courts may be set up employing the services of retired judicial officers for this purpose. This scheme could be tested on a pilot basis in 5 judicial districts with the highest pendency in the 5 states.

The Supreme Court had in March 2022 directed Registrar Generals of all High Courts to file a status report regarding compliance of directions issued by it to expedite the trial of cheque dishonour cases under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

On April 16, 2021, a Constitution Bench of the Court had issued a slew of directions, on the basis of recommendations made by a court-appointed committee, for expeditious trial in cheque dishonour cases.

The Court had on March 10th last year directed the formation of a Committee, and had asked the Union of India to provide such secretarial assistance including whole time or part time secretary to the Committee, allocate space for functioning of committee and provide for allowances that may be necessary.

It was on March 7 last year that the bench of CJI Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao registered the suo moto case to devise methods for expeditious trial of Section 138 NI Act cases.

Case Title : In Re Expeditious Trial Of Cases Under Section 138 of N.I Act.

Click here to read/download the amicus report

Also Read : Appointing Retired Judges To Clear Cheque Bounce Cases : Supreme Court Seeks Views Of Centre, States & HCs [Read Amicus Report]

Why Not Close Cheque Cases With Amount Below A Certain Limit? Supreme Court Asks Centre, States & Banks

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