EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON THE LAW OF CHEQUES AND RECENTLY AMENDMENTS(JUNE 2020)

Companies have become unable to pay their debts due to the economic fluctuations that have been experienced worldwide recently and have adverse effects in our country. Many officials faced prison sentences for the reason that the judicial fines were not paid due to the “crime of causing a non-refundable transaction” against the authorities of the companies due to the cheques that remained unrequited. Within the scope of the measures taken due to the increase of prison sentences and the effects of the Covid-19, various regulations were made in the Law No. 7241 and the Law No. 5941, published in the Official Gazette dated 26.03.2020.

Within the scope of the arrangements, the execution of the sentence of the convicted prisoners has been stopped due to the crime of “Causing the Dud Cheque Process” which committed until 24.03.2020. People who has been convicted for this crime have been released!

Under the aforementioned law, some conditions are envisaged for the complete elimination of criminal conviction:

  • The convict is obliged to pay one tenth of the unpaid portion of the cheque price within three months from the date of release. 
  • The remaining part should be paid in fifteen equal installments, two months apart from the end of the three-month period.

However, if one tenth of the unpaid part of the cheque price is not paid within three months from the date of execution, the court shall decide on the execution of the verdict upon the complaint of the creditor.

Due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 on the economy, the discussions on the extension of the three-month period are on the agenda for a long time. Due to the fact that it is difficult for the borrower to pay 10 percent of the dishonored cheque price within three months from the date of release, the three-month period was extended to one year with Law numbered 7247 published in the Official Gazette dated 26.06.2020.

  • The borrower is obliged to pay one tenth of the unpaid portion of the dud cheque price within one year from the date of release. 
  • The remaining part will be paid in fifteen equal installments, two months apart from the end of the one-year period.

If the convict does not pay one of the installments for the first time in due time; the installment, which is not paid, shall be  added to the final installment to be paid at the end of the period. In case of failure in payment of one of the remaining installments, the court will decide on the execution of the verdict upon the complaint of the creditor.In other words, the convict was given the opportunity to postpone the installment for once. As a result, with the possibility of postponing a one-off installment, maximum 44 months term will be in favor of he convict to pay the cheque price.

For instance, the unpaid portion of the cheque amount is 100.000 TRL;

  • Assume that the convict was released on 26.03.2020; the borrower must pay 10,000-TL to the creditor within 1 year from such date until 26.03.2021 
  • The remaining (90.000 TRL) will be paid in 15 equal installments every 2 months after 26.03.2021. If any of these installments are not paid; unpaid installments will be added -for one time-to 15th installment.

However, the following issues are still undefined yet,

  • The situation of those who are still on trial for the mentioned crime, 
  • Those who have a final sentence of imprisonment but not executed yet (those who are not in prison) 

There is a opinion that also we believe that such provision should also be applied for those who continue to be tried in a court after enforcement of law, provided that the crime date must be before 24.03.2020. 

On the other hand, about the defendants who have been convicted but have not been imprisoned, problems arise in practice in determining the 1-year period mentioned above and the installment dates accordingly. Objections to the courts on this matter have not been consummated and hence there is no sample court decision yet. There is no doubt that there are many problems due to such rapid change under the pressure of Covid-19 epidemic, which bring important duties for the legal sector. 

As a result, thousands of people were evacuated with this change, which concerns many borrowers imprisoned for dishonored cheque. Creditors, on the other hand, took a comfortable breath to have chance for collection. However, we all experience the results of the above detailed system in the coming days.