SC steps in to speed up cheque cases
The Supreme Court has called for reports from all high courts in the country regarding the implementation of its directions on trials under the Negotiable Instruments Act. A detailed judgment was passed last year in the case, Meters and Instruments Ltd vs Kanchan Mehta, with orders to speed up procedure in trial of persons accused of issuing cheques without sufficient fund in the bank. The Supreme Court passed a follow-up order last week in the case, Gulshan Dhall vs Atbit Singh. In this case, the court wanted to know the progress made by the high courts in following its directions.
The judgment of last year dealt with, among other things, compounding offence if the payee accepts the cheque amount with compensation, cost and interest, exempting the accused from appearing in person before the magistrate, and punishment. Relaxing the rules, the court had stated that “where the cheque amount with interest and cost as assessed by the court is paid by a specified date, the court is entitled to close the proceedings.” The Supreme Court also introduced modern technology when it said it would be open to the high courts to lay down the category of cases where proceedings could be conducted online.
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Consumer law covers executive’s car
According to the Consumer Protection Act, a company which buys goods for ‘commercial purpose’ is not a consumer and cannot move a consumer forum. But if a company buys goods or vehicle for the personal use of its directors or staff, it is not the commercial purpose and a consumer forum can be approached for an appropriate remedy. However, this question arises very often in consumer courts. In the latest case, Shree Krishna Motors vs BMW India Ltd, a partnership firm bought a car for use of its directors. When a consumer issue arose between the firm and the manufacturer, the firm moved the Chhattisgarh consumer commission, which rejected the complaint maintaining that the car was bought for the commercial purpose. On appeal, the National Consumer Commission reversed the ruling as the firm argued that the vehicle was bought for use by the partners.
The judgment recalled its earlier full bench decision in Crompton Greaves Ltd vs Diamler Chrysler India, in which it was asserted that if a car or any other goods are obtained or any services hired by a company for the personal use of its directors or employees, such a transaction is not for commercial purpose. It does not matter whether the goods or services are used solely for the personal purposes of the directors or employees or they are used primarily for the use of the directors or employees of the company and incidentally for the purposes of the company.