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Central Govt. seeks Public Opinion on Decriminalising Cheque Bounce, Lesser Economic Offences

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a) The Central Government on Monday sought for the public opinion on decriminalising Cheque Bounce under Section 138 of Negotiable Instrument Act. The Ministry of Finance issued “Statement of Reason” for the decriminalisation of Minor Offences for Improving Business Sentiment and Unclogging Court Processes.

b) The Centre has sought opinions from stakeholders like state government and public on proposals to amend 19 acts of Parliament which if legislated may, for example, make bouncing of bank cheque a non-criminal act.

c) The Government has initiated a process for decriminalising several acts that are currently listed as economic offences punishable with a jail term, fine, or both so as to improve business sentiment in India.

d) The Finance Ministry has proposed to decriminalise a host of minor offences, including those relating to cheque bounce and repayment of loans, in as many as 19 legislations to help businesses tide over the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

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e) The offences relating to 19 legislations which includes SectionSARFAESI Act  12 of Insurance Act, 1938; Section 138 of  Negotiable Instruments Act (cheque bounce); Section 29 (repayment of bank loans); LIC Act; Section 16 (7) PFRDA Act;  Section 58B RBI Act; Section 49 NHB Act, Banking Regulation Act and Chit Funds Act; Section 26 (1) of Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007; Section 56 (1) of NABARD Act, 1981; Section 42 (1) of State Financial Corporations Act, 1951; Section 23 (1) of Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005; Section 23 of Factoring Regulation Act, 2011; Section 37 of Actuaries Act, 2006; Section 36 AD (2) Banking Regulation Act, 1949; Section 30 of General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972; Section 40 of LIC Act, 1956; Section 21 (1) of Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019; Section 76 (1) of Chit Funds Act, 1982; Section 47(1) of DICGC Act, 1961 and Section 4 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

“Actions taken for the decriminalisation of minor offences are expected to go a long way in improving ease of doing business and helping unclog the court system and prisons,” the Finance Ministry said. “It would also be a significant step in the Government of India’s objective of achieving ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’,” it noted.

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