138 ni act
I am a transporter. Sole proprietor. I own a few trucks. In 2014 I had a contract from Aditya Birla for which I needed more trucks and approached a few local people to ply their trucks with me. There was no written agreement with the locals as market rates change everyday. They plied the trucks for 2 months and they were paid about 11-12 lakhs. 80 percent of that amount was paid via cheque and rest via cash.
As a symbol of guarantee, they took 7 cheques (7 truck owners) before starting to ply the trucks with me. When the trucks were returned, I made a stop payment on those 7 cheques. Now after the trucks were returned, they did not return me the cheques, instead presented at their bank and bounced them without giving me any notice. Please note at this point, they were not owed any dues. As all hire charges are paid within 1-3 days.
And all 7 of them have filed court cases against me at the lower court. Please note :
1. I had more than sufficient balance in my bank account
2. I willfully stopped those cheques because I feared they might try to encash which was a risk.
3. I wrote an application to bank, that I want to stop those cheques due to business dispute
4. Demand notice was not served to me, yet they showed at the court "not claimed" as if i purposely did not take it. But fact is i never received it. And i never changed address.
5. Summons were delivered 2 days before the court dates and I took bail.
6. In the summon the opposite parties wrote that they gave me friendly loan of the cheque amount etc and presented the cheques which got bounced and therefore i should be punished etc etc. They managed to manufacture a lot of lies etc etc.
Now, I am not sure how to judge the performance of my lawyer. But he could manage date after date for about a year. Now the cases are in middle stage. I am not confident how my lawyer will take a strong defence in my cases because he says there are lots of options. And quite frankly, these cases are adding unwanted stress in my life and affecting me in my career. Every month there are 7-10 dates. My business and life is getting stressed.
I feel helpless, sad , angry, violent all at the same time. I dont know what to expect from the Hon'ble Judge. I need a very reliable opinion from a very experienced person.
Can anybody in this forum tell me what to do ?
Thank you so much for your time.