If the cheque presented before the bank is bounced for insufficient funds or some other reasons, the demand notice to be sent for payment within 30 days from the date of cheque bounce. If the other party failed to comply with the notice (usually in 15 days) then a complaint under section 138 of negotiable Instrument should be filed in the concerned magistrate court within the jurisdiction.
The timeline of the cheque bounce case trial usually takes an average of 12 to 18 months to complete the proceedings before the trial court. However, in the case of Fast Track Court proceedings the trial may complete earlier than 18 months.
1) Filing of complaint:
Filing of complaints u/s 138 with M.M./A.M.M.
The complaint should be filed before the Trial Court with supporting documents such as Returned Cheque whit bank slip, Legal Notice with Acknowledgment for the receipt or delivery, Reply notice and proof for liability such as invoices, promissory note and etc., If the courts find prima-facie a case is made out, then the complainant will be called to make sworn statement before the court.
2) Sworn Statement of Complainant:
The complainant or his authorized agent should appear in the witness box and provide relevant details for filing the case. If the court is satisfied and finds substance in the complainant, then the summon will be issued to the accused to appear before the Court.
3) The appearance of Accused:
The accused shall appear in court in person or through his Counsel. The court will verify whether the summons issued by the court is received by the accused. In spite of the receipt of summon, if the accused failed to appear before the court then the court will issue an arrest warrant against him. The court will enquire the accused whether he admits the charges made by the complaint. In case of admission of guilt, the court will post the matter for punishment. If the accused, denies the charges then he will be served with the copy of the complaint and he will be directed to submit his version of defense.
4) Examination in Chief:
The Complainant shall present his evidence by way of oral or affidavit and produce all documents including the original in support of his complaint. The complainant can also present his witnesses in support of his case.
The complainant will be cross-examined by the accused or his counsel. The other witnesses who appeared in support of the complainant will also be cross-examined in this stage.
6) Defense Evidence:
The accused will be given an opportunity to leave his evidence. The accused will also be afforded an opportunity to submit his documents in support of his case, as well as witnesses in his support. Accused and his witnesses will be cross-examined by the complainant. After this, the case is posted for arguments.
The Complainant and the accused or these counsels shall submit their arguments before the Court. During the argument the counsel may submit the precedents of High courts and Supreme Court in support of their case. Usually, a written argument containing a gist of the oral argument is also submitted before the court.
After the arguments, the case is posted for judgment. if the court finds in favor of the complainant then the accused will be punished with fine or imprisonment. If the court finds in favor of the Accused, then the court will acquit him. If the accused is convicted, he will be subjected to arrest or he can move a petition for suspension his sentence for a period of 30 days, so he can file an appeal before the sessions court.
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