Lok Sabha passes Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017

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New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which provides for allowing a court trying an offence related to cheque bouncing to direct the drawer to pay interim compensation to the complainant.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said: “There are 16 lakh cases of cheque bouncing still lying in subordinate courts and 35,000 cases are in higher courts.”

“The interim compensation may be paid under certain circumstances, including where the drawer pleads not guilty of the accusation. The compensation will not exceed 20 per cent of the cheque amount and will have to be paid by the drawer within 60 days of the trial court’s order to pay such a compensation,” he added.

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Speaking during the debate on the bill, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said: “The government while writing this bill doesn’t appear to have taken into account the best practices in other countries.

“In France, for example, a person who defaults on his cheque payments is added to a central register known as the FCC and he is banned from issuing any cheque for a period of five years. We could have put that to the law. This has proven to be an effective deterrent in France,” said Tharoor.

“Similarly, in some states in the US increased penalties were imposed if there is a second instance of a bounced cheque after the first conviction. We don’t have any such provision. It is a good bill up to a point but not sufficient. Much more should be added,” he said.

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Kalyan Baneerjee of the Trinamool Congress said: “It is undoubtedly a good endeavour, but the question is when a complaint is lodged whether a trial would take place.

“As far as the parent act is concerned, sufferers would mostly be middle and lower-middle classes. Moreover, there is no time stipulated as regards in how many days the trial would be completed.

He also said: “Instead of lodging a complaint, make a provision to lodge a complaint with concerned police station. When a notice would be served, immediate steps would be taken, and they (police) are appropriate persons to catch the accused.”

–IANS

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