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The Delhi High Court has directed that all outstation cases related to cheque bouncing should go back to their respective courts as they do not fall under the Capital’s jurisdiction.

A bench composed of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan said that all cases pertaining to bounced cheques in other states should be sent to courts having original jurisdiction as lot of cases are mounting here.

'Why should the banks and other institutions whose head offices are in Delhi bring the cases to the Capital just for their own convenience,' Justice Shah observed.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation a few days back which said that the litigants from states like Kerala were summoned to Delhi just because the banks could file the cases here as their head offices were in Delhi and thus increase pressure on the litigants.

Justice Shah said, 'Courts are flooded with complaints that cannot be entertained and thus unnecessarily clogging the docks of the subordinate courts.' 'In fact, judges are not able to dispose off other cases within their jurisdiction as their whole time was wasted in dealing with such cases of cheque bouncing that are beyond their jurisdiction,' the bench noted.

The court also asked the Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority (DHCLSA) about its views in this regard which said all cases of cheque bouncing that were out of Delhi’s jurisdiction should be returned.

Counsel Jyoti Singh appearing for DHCLSA submitted before the court that a large number of cases had been filed by various institutions, banks and other complainants under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for their own convenience.

'The cases have been filed without even seeing the jurisdiction or it has been overlooked as the accused are staying in far-off states like Kerala,' she said.

'Disposal of such complaints without jurisdiction takes a lot of time as in most cases, the accused are either not served the notice, or when they are served, they do not appear before the court because the amount involved is so small that the accused thinks he would have to spend more money in reaching Delhi and contesting the matter,' she added.

Agreeing with the counsel’s submission, the court said: 'The cheque bouncing cases where Delhi courts have no jurisdiction have affected their work badly and the accused had to face harassment as they had to travel long distances at heavy costs to defend their cases.' The growing cheque bouncing cases had also forced the Delhi Legal Services Authority to hold Lok Adalats (peoples court) regularly, as a staggering number of around 5,00,000 cases of dishonoured cheques were pending in the lower courts here and most of them were not of Delhi’s jurisdiction.

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