The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed for two months the High Court verdict that had barred banks and non-bank financial institutions from filing cheque dishonour cases for debt recovery.
At a hearing on a stay petition by Brac Bank, the Appellate Division's full bench led by Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique also directed the private sector lender to file a leave to appeal against the verdict within two months.
"Now there is no legal bar to accepting cases over bounced cheques. Cheque dishonour cases will continue as before," Barrister Minhajul Haque Chowdhury, who represented Brac Bank in court, told journalists.
On 23 November, the High Court ordered banks and financial institutions not to file cheque dishonour cases against borrowers to realise their default loans.
The court had passed the order after disposing of an appeal by Mohammad Ali, who was sued by Brac Bank and received a sentence of six-month imprisonment and a Tk2.95 lakh penalty in a trial court.
It had also instructed the lower courts to directly dismiss such cases and directed the authorities concerned to file such cases with the Artha Rin Adalat (Money Loan Court) for the recovery of default loans.
On 28 November, Brac Bank filed an application with the chamber court seeking a stay on the High Court order. The same day Justice M Enayetur Rahim sent the application to the Appellate Division for its full bench hearing.
The High Court in its order had also said insurance coverage is needed against all kinds of loans. The court asked the Bangladesh Bank authorities to issue directives and requested the Parliament to amend the laws concerned.
At the same time, the High Court stayed the proceedings of all cheque dishonour cases filed by banks and financial institutions and pending in different courts.