Negotiable Instrument Act streamlines the issue of “jurisdiction”

The Negotiable Instruments Act was amended to address and streamline the “ jurisdiction” for filing the cases under section 138 (Ex. Cheque bounce). This addresses one of the major pain point in quick redressal. The section now reads as:

“The offence under Section 138 shall be inquired into and tried only by a court within whose local jurisdiction the bank branch of the payee, where the payee presents the cheque for payment, is situated”

Further, a new Section 142A in the Negotiable Instrument Act is included, which helps in streamlining the jurisdiction. If more than one prosecution is filed against the same drawer of cheques before different courts and it is brought to the notice of the court, the court shall transfer the case to the court having jurisdiction as per the new scheme of jurisdiction.

“(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or any other judgment, decree, order or directions of any court, all cases arising out of section 138 which were pending in any court, whether filed before it, or transferred to it, before the commencement of the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015, shall be transferred to the court having jurisdiction under sub-section (2) of section 142 as if that sub-section had been in force at all material times.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) of section 142 of sub-section (1), where the payee or the holder in due course, as the case may be, has filed a complaint against the drawer of a cheque in the court having jurisdiction under sub-section (2) of section 142 or the case has been transferred to that court under sub-section (1), all subsequent complaints arising out of section 138 against the same drawer shall be filed before the same court irrespective of whether those cheques were presented for payment within the territorial jurisdiction of that court.

(3) If, on the date of commencement of the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015, more than one prosecution filed by the same person against the same drawer of cheques is pending before different courts, upon the said fact having been brought to the notice of the court, such court shall transfer the case to the court having jurisdiction under sub-section 142(2) before which the first case was filed as if that sub-section had been in force at all material times.”

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