Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act 2018
The negotiable instruments act was, 1881 was enacted to characterize and define the law relating to authoritative records like promissory notes, bills of exchange and cheques. Over the years the act has undergone amendments, to deal with changing times as it is prominent that the mode of exchange keeping in mind the financial scenario of the country has been drastically changing.
However the pendency issue of cheque dishonour remains a major issue. With a view to put a stop to the corrupt practices of the drawers the Lok Sabha passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill 2017 on 23rdJuly 2018 and Rajya Sabha the bill on 26 July 2018 and subsequently the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act 2018 was notifies on 2nd August 2018.
The amended provisions are likely to produce a lesser number of cheque bounce cases. This will provide immediate relief to payees of the dishonoured cheques, who earlier had to face a very long procedure. The 2018 amendment is considered as one of the most important legislation in the negotiable Instruments Act.
The amendment incorporates section 143A of the act which provides interim compensation to the complainant. This insertion in the NI Act aims at addressing the issue of undue delay in the grant of relief to the sufferer. It is believed that this amendment will help trade and commerce in general. The new section 143A empowers the court to provide 20% interim compensation of the impugned cheque to the drawer, such a grant was not mentioned earlier.
Also another inserted section 148 says that when an appeal is made by the drawer under section 138 the appellate court may order the appellant to deposit such sum which shall be minimum 20% of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial court. However if the appellant is acquitted the court shall order the complainant directly to repay the amount so released, with interest. The aim or the final goal of this amendment is yet to be achieved and is definitely far-fetched but at the same time the changes seems about right in order to protect the true holder of the bounced cheque.
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