Parliament passes Negotiable Instrument Bill

The Parliament on Friday passed the Negotiable Instrument (Amendment) Bill 2015, which amends the clauses relating to the territorial jurisdiction for filing cheque bounce cases.

The move is expected to check piling of cheque-bounce cases in courts. At present there are over 18 lakh cheque bounce cases pending in different courts.

It will also strengthen the financial system especially at a time when India is moving towards a cashless society, though a few apprehend that it would be used by corporates to harass the common man.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill with voice vote without debate. The bill, which was earlier passed by the lower House, was returned by the Rajya Sabha this week after making some changes.

The amendments enables filing of cheque bounce cases in the place where the cheque was presented for clearance or payment and not the place of it origin. The amendment seeks to overturn a Supreme Court ruling which said the cases have to be initiated where the cheque-issuing branch was located.

If a complaint against a person issuing a cheque has been filed in the court with the appropriate jurisdiction, then all subsequent complaints against that person will be filed in the same court, irrespective of the relevant jurisdiction area.

The government maintains that the jurisdiction for offence has been clearly defined in the bill keeping in view the interest of complainants.

Meanwhile, a bill seeking to raise the sugar cess ceiling from Rs 25 to Rs 200 per quintal of sugar was introduced by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in the Lok Sabha.

The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015 has been brought forward as the committed expenditure on account of various interventions to faciliate liquidation of arrears of cane dues necessitates enhancement of the accruals into the Sugar Development Fund from cess, its statement of objects and reasons said.

An enhancement in rate of cess been necessitated to meet the increasing liabilities and finance interventions to ensure timely payments of cane dues to farmers, it said, while proposing to increase the ceiling of the cess from Rs 25 to Rs 200 per quintal of sugar.

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