Amending The Traditional Process Of Serving Summons And Warrants

In Mumbai, a huge number of cases regarding bouncing checks are pending because summons is not served promptly. The Bombay High Court is requesting from the Maharashtra Government to make an exception with regards to the bouncing check cases by allowing the summons to be delivered through registered post in addition to the usual practice of delivery through process servers. This will ensure that pending summons and warrants will be issued expeditiously.

It is expected for the state government to consider the request because it has already been established that if summonses are delivered promptly, the number of pending cases will be reduced particularly cases that have been filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The high court has issued directions to respondents that machinery must be created for the prompt service of warrants and summonses to an accused individual.

Public Prosecutor JP Yagnik informed the court that during a meeting with police officials, it was resolved that the job of serving summons and writs must be delegated to postal authorities since the police are already overburdened with work. The court has asked the state government to amend the laws so that summons can be served through registered mail. The judges have also noted that between 2013 -2014 the High Court has made the effort to find out the stage at which a bottleneck occurred in check bouncing cases.

After all the statistical data has been collected, it was found out that at least 80% of the cases were pending at the stage of serving summons. When banks and financial institutions were given directions to send their legal notices to the accused, the pending cases went down from 345, 000 to 69,000 in Mumbai. The pendency was minimized because most of the accused came forward and settled the disputes when they received the legal notice.

Process serving can be a problem in the absence of reliable process servers who will undertake the responsibility of delivering summonses and warrants promptly. When the legal documents are delivered personally to the accused, the court proceedings can start immediately and pending cases will be significantly minimized.

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