STRICTER PUNISHMENT FOR CHEQUE BOUNCE
NECESSARY TO ENCOURAGE CASHLESS TRANSACTIONS
There's a reason we Indians believe so much in cash. In a country like ours where you are likely to meet with fraud at every other step, the tangibility of cash gives a much needed assurance(provided the currency itself is not fake) to the one who receives it. The reason we believe so much in cash is that we are not yet developed enough to make our banking services 100% reliable. Bounced cheques are one of the biggest deterrents in making our economy cashless the way our PM wants.
Though those issuing cheques that bounce are liable to being penalized heavily or even imprisoned, the process is long and involves legal intervention. This long drawn out and costly legal process may work where heavy amounts are involved, it is hardly justified in case of small payments involving a few hundred or even a few thousand rupees. When we talk of India, we are mostly talking of these small payments which form the bulk of our economy. If a cheque , of say, Rs. 2000 is bounced, would an individual running a small business spend ten times of the amount involved in legal proceedings to reclaim his money. He or she certainly wouldn't. He would undergo an immense mental stress for having been cheated, would bear the loss while burning with frustration and wow not to accept a cheque in future.
According to a report in HT, the Reserve Bank of India is coming up with more stringent norms to ensure that cheque payments are honoured on time. It is looking to come out with more provisions to honour cheque payments in time, but without taking legal recourse. If this mode of payment is to be given a push, some necessary measures will have to be taken, a source from RBI has said.
To move away from cash transactions and encourage the masses to rely on other modes of transactions including cheques, it is imperative that issued cheques be treated like currency. In fact, a cheque like a currency note has the same imprint- it promises to pay the bearer a definite monetary amount. Then why is it not valued like currency and why isn't a bounced cheque (dishonoured thrice in a row as the law permits), be treated equivalent to counterfeit currency? If masses are to be encouraged to opt for cashless transactions and hence duly pay their income tax, then the provision should be made that the bank,from which the thrice bounced cheque has been issued or if the issuer is frequently issuing cheques which bounce, to various parties, should immediately freeze the account holders account and link his PAN card/Adhar card/Any other ID to the banking system so that he or she is deprived of banking facilities all over the country for a certain time period, or until all his/her dues are cleared and an undertaking given that it will not happen again.