Strict Action against Fugitive Offenders and Cheque Bounce Cases

Cheque Bounce
Cheque bounce cases have been a menace to the Indian legal system as it’s compounding multifold when offenders escape to foreign countries.

In wake of sudden rise in cases of cheque bounce being reported, Courts have started taking a strict view against the offenders. The judiciary has been active to ensure that the provision under law are effectively used and the Parliament has been active to bridge the gaps through enacting special laws wherever these gaps have been found.

Government of India, in 2018 has enacted and brought into force the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 whose primary object is to provide for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. This legislation applies to the cases of cheque bounce also which is a scheduled offence under this act. This legislation is a welcome step and needs to be implemented in letter and spirit to ensure rule of law, and ensure speedy criminal trial of the cases where accused has moved out of India.

Recently, Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Mumbai had issued Arrest Warrant against one of the accused in cheque bouncing case through Indian Embassy at US. As per the details learnt from the sources, the concerned Court had issues few warrants to the accused, Farhan Dharmesh Modi to his official and other known addresses in India. All these warrants remained unexecuted. When it was brough to the Court’s notice that the accused is presently residing in US and working with ZT Systems at New Jersey then the court sent the arrest warrants to Indian Embassy at Washington to get the same executed through concerned police station in US.

The reporter learnt through sources that more criminal and civil cases are pending against the same person in different parts of India at different courts.

Despite the best of the Government’s intent the road to bring back the offenders for trial to Indian court is a daunting task. 

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1881 provides specific provisions under section 105 for reciprocal armaments to be made by Central Government with the foreign governments with regard to the service of summons / warrants/ judicial processes. MHA has entered into Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty/ Arrangements with 25 countries. In respect of other countries, the Ministry attempts to serve the judicial papers by giving an assurance of reciprocity. Agreement with Singapore is a very good example for such mutual arrangement wherein the Government of Singapore has provided a detailed proforma in which the non-bailable warrants are to be submitted for their execution. Such a mechanism is also needed to be put in place for other jurisdiction as well.

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