Delhi: Lok adalats on Saturday to settle cheque bounce cases

With nearly 40 lakh cheque bounce cases pending in various courts across the country, the National Legal Services Authority is organising 'lok adalats' at the national level on Saturday for clearing the backlog.

New Delhi: With nearly 40 lakh cheque bounce cases pending in various courts across the country, the National Legal Services Authority is organising 'lok adalats' at the national level on Saturday for clearing the backlog.

The lok adalat on cheque bounce cases and bank recovery matters will be the first in the series of such alternative dispute resolution forums, which are to be organised every month on specific subject matters.

The move to hold a lok adalat on cheque bounce cases comes amidst plans by the government to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act to reduce the number of such cases in courts.

As part of larger judicial reforms proposed by the government, there are plans to amend the Negotiable Instruments Act as well as the Motor Vehicles Act to prevent matters related to cheque bounce and traffic challans clogging the courts.

"As done earlier, these lok adalats will be held across the country, in the Supreme Court, the High Courts, District Courts and the Taluk level Courts. Their aim is to reduce the pendency in the courts while at the same time to draw the attention of the public to the efficacious alternative dispute resolution method of lok adalat," a statement put out by the Law Ministry today said.

Matters will be taken up at the Supreme Court level by four lok adalat benches consisting of sitting judges and retired judges of the apex court.

Once so disposed of by settlement, there will be no further appeal in these cases. In a bid to encourage people to opt for lok adalat settlements even before moving court, cases at pre-litigation level will also be taken up by these adalats.

"The settlement at pre-litigation stage would mean that many possible cases will not reach the courts," the statement said.

A few years ago, the Law Commission then headed by Justice AR Lakshmanan had recommended setting up of fast-track courts to decide cheque bounce cases.

The National Legal Services Authority was constituted to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of society and to organise lok adalats for the amicable settlement of disputes.  

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