Let us not dilute law on cheque bouncing

The Indian court system is notoriously clogged. There are more than three crore cases pending at various levels and stages. Justice delayed is justice denied. What do we do? Experts and bodies such as law commissions and industry chambers have recommended several judicial reforms. A big part of the solution is filling out all the vacancies in the judiciary, so that there is speedy resolution of cases. We also have to encourage parties to settle out of court as far as possible, a process called arbitration or mediation. If a case goes to trial in a court, what are the chances of the plaintiff winning? In India it is not even 50-50. The process itself takes so long that the plaintiff loses in the beginning itself. Often the accused, or the defendant, can tell the plaintiff: go to court if you want. As if admitting a trial into court, means getting into permanent traffic jam – the ‘taareekh pe taareekh’ syndrome. Imagine the following: what if the chance of the defendant being found guilty, or losing the case is 90 per cent?

Then the defendant will try hard to settle out of court. This can happen if the pre-trial preparation is watertight and of excellent quality. So shoddy investigation, and badly done prosecution can also cause the trial to fail. Indeed the pendency ratio of courts in India would vastly come down if the trials were speedy, and almost surely end up with the defendant losing, because of excellent pre-court preparation.

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