dishonor of cheques

Bharat Rajvanshi, pursuing Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administrative and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, assesses the topic dishonor of cheques.

With the approach of installment through cheques, money related exchanges turned out to be considerably less demanding. Instead of heap of notes a bit of cheques is significantly simpler to convey. It has encouraged exchange and business hugely. Be that as it may, with the landing of cheque framework the issue of skipping or disrespecting of cheque additionally began. Individuals began to issue cheques without expectation of respecting them. This prompted to decrease in the esteem arrangement of exchange and believability of business. Some progression was expected to control this. For trade to thrive it was required that some law, which could guarantee validity to the holder of the instrument, ought to be sanctioned. Before 1988 there was no viable lawful arrangement to control individuals from issuing cheques without having adequate funds in their account or any stringent arrangement to rebuff them on cheque not being regarded by their financiers and returned unpaid. The cash could be recouped on documenting a common suit by the holder yet it would require a ton of investment.



To guarantee promptitude and cure against defaulters and to guarantee validity of the holders of the negotiable instrument, a criminal cure of punishment was embedded in Negotiable Instruments Act,1881 through Banking, Public Financial Institutes and Negotiable Instruments Laws (Amendment) Act,1988 which were further altered by the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act ,2002. The protest and motivation behind getting the demonstration was to make the individual managing in business exchanges work with an awareness of other’s expectations and consequently under the altered arrangements of law slip by on their part to respect their dedication renders the people obligated for criminal prosecution.


What is Negotiable Instrument?

A Negotiable instrument is a specific sort of “agreement” for the installment of cash that is unlimited and fit for exchange by arrangement. As installment of cash is guaranteed later, the instrument itself can be utilized by the holder at the appropriate time much of the time as money. It is a transferable, marked record that guarantees to pay the conveyor an aggregate of cash at a future date or on request. Illustrations incorporate cheques, bills of trade, and promissory notes. A “negotiable instrument” implies a promissory note, bill of trade or cheque payable either to arrange or to bearer.

Section 138 to 142 of Chapter XVII, of the negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, manages disrespecting of cheques.. The Parliament in its knowledge had brought Sec. 138 on the statute book so as to present monetary teach in business dealings. Before inclusion of 138 of NI, a disrespected cheque left the individual oppressed with the main cure of recording a claim. The cure accessible in common court is a long drawn matter and a deceitful drawer ordinarily takes different requests to crush the certifiable case of the payee. Section 138 has changed over common risk into criminal offense. This has been embedded by the parliament with the question and reason for considering a man criminally in charge of his demonstrations in business exchanges exchange and business dealings with individuals completed thoughtlessly or without feeling of responsibility.

Offense under 138 is an offense with no mens rea .It is not a criminal offense in genuine sense as it doesn’t require mens rea, similar to couple of other criminal offenses, yet as open intrigue is hampered by such offense so it has been made a culpable offense. It incorporates strict obligation. Making of the strict obligation is a compelling measure by urging more prominent carefulness to avoid regular hard mentality of drawers of cheques in release of obligations. 

The conditions under which such a disrespect happens are not of much significance. Any purpose behind disrespect is an offense under Section 138 of the NI Act. Minor Note expressing “Disrespect of cheque for deficiency and so forth of assets in records” expansion of word “and so forth.” can’t be thought to be an accident.


The basic elements of sec138 are as per the following:-

  1. Drawing of a cheque by a man on a record of any obligation or other liability.
  2. Introduction of the cheque to the bank inside a time of 6 months from date of its drawing or inside the time of its legitimacy.
  3. Returning of the cheque unpaid by the drawee bank.
  4. Notice to the drawer of cheque inside 30 days of receipt of information of return of cheque as unpaid in type of charge progress or return reminder.
  5. Failure of the drawer to make payment inside 15 days of receipt of notice.


The arrangements of section 138 will be pulled in just when the cheque has been issued for the release of any obligation or other lawfully enforceable risk. The producer of the cheque is not subject for arraignment if cheque which is dishonored, is the one, which is given as blessing, present or donation. The offense gets finished simply after notice is served and instalment as required by notice is not made.

Letters composed by complainant can be translated as notice under Section 138 NIA.- Complaint can be recorded on the sixteenth day. Notice need not be sent through enrolled post –notice/letter sent under authentication of presenting is imposed upon have gotten by accused. Notice served on organization yet not MD and chief who are gatherings in grievance, is legitimate notice. Notice to sensibly remedy address is sufficient. A see declined to be acknowledged by the recipient can be dared to have been served on him.

Drawer of cheque is separated from everyone else at risk. Indeed, even without a doubt the cheque was issued by the initially blamed towards the release for the obligation of the candidate/second denounced organization. Still, the second charged organization can’t be indicted as it is not the drawer. At the point when a cheque of shared service is returned as “signature required from another executive”, 138 will lie. Cheque returned as ‘record operation mutually another executive mark required’ it adds up to dishonor. Even if notice is issued halting instalment before the payee saved the cheque in his bank, offense is complete18. On account of disrespect of cheque time of one month for recording the protest will be figured from the day quickly taking after the day on which the time of fifteen days from the date of receipt of the notice by the drawer expires.



Nearness of all the previously mentioned ingredients is important to draw in the arrangement of Sec. 138 of the N.I. Act. It is a bit much that all the over five acts ought to have been executed at a similar territory, they may have been performed in five unique regions. Grievance can be recorded at any of the spots specified beneath. One of the Courts practicing ward in one of the five neighborhoods turn into the place of trail for the offense under Sec. 138 of the Act

  1. Where the cheque was drawn.
  2. Where the cheque was exhibited for encashment.
  3. Where the cheque was returned unpaid by drawee bank.
  4. Where see in composing was given to drawer of cheque requesting instalment.
  5. Where drawer of cheque neglected to make instalment inside 15 days of receipt of notice.


Cognizance of Offenses

Under Section 142, courts take insight of offenses culpable under Section 138 just upon a dissension made by the payee or, all things considered, the holder at the appointed time of the cheque. The protest must be in composing and be made inside one month of the date on which the reason for activity i.e. after the individual attracted the cheque neglects to pay the sum inside 15 days of the receipt of notice of its disrespect. No court second rate compared to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the top notch has the ability to attempt any offense culpable under Sec. 138.

By the 2002 correction Courts have been given caution to postpone the time of one month, which has been endorsed for taking insight of the case under the Act; Cognizance of an objection might be taken by the Court after the recommended period, if the complainant fulfills the Court that he had adequate reason for not making a protest inside such period.

The Magistrate while taking insight needs to investigate the question whether the elements of an offense have been made out or not. Inasmuch as the time of notice does not terminate there can be no reason for activity with the payee to make the drawer obligated criminally.



The day and age set down in the demonstration must be entirely taken after. Any slip by in holding fast to the calendar, should make away a reason for move under Sec. 138. As far as possible put can’t be approved by the Courts. The constraints which must be remembered and considered are as per the following:

  • Cheque ought to be introduced to the bank for encashment inside its legitimacy period.
  • Within fifteen days from the receipt of return update showing reason of disrespect, a notice ought to be sent requesting the measure of shamed cheque.
  • If the drawer does not pay the measure of shamed cheque inside the elegance time frame, an objection from that point ought to be recorded inside one month in the pertinent court having ward.


Confinement for documenting protestation constrain characterized as from a specific day. The main day is to be prohibited. Time of 15 days from the date of receipt of notice consummation on 14-10-1995 –so, 30 days duration starts on 15-10-1995. Grumbling documented on15-11-1995 is inside time.

Demise of complainant won’t end procedures U/S 138 NI Act. Complainant’s nearness is redundant .Legal beneficiaries can be impleaded



Punishment for charged if demonstrated liable under Sec 138 N.I. Act:

  1. Detainment of up to 2 years.
  2. Punishment of up to double the amount of the bounced cheque.


Next to the disciplines, the court can concede remuneration to the complainant under Sec 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and no restriction has been accommodated the measure of pay.

By the 2002 amendment the term of detainment has been expanded to two years.

Compoundable Offense

By an alteration presented in 2002, under Section 147, an offense identified with the shame of a cheque and each other offense culpable under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 can be secretly settled.


Offense under 138 by Company

In the event that the individual conferring an offense under Section 138 is an organization, each individual who, at the time the offense was submitted, was accountable for, and was capable to, the organization for the lead of the matter of the organization, and the organization, should be esteemed to be blameworthy of the offense and might be at risk to be continued against and rebuffed in like manner. A man might not be obligated on the off chance that he demonstrates that the offense was conferred without his insight, or that he had practiced all due constancy to keep the commission of such offence. Where a man is assigned as a Director of an organization by goodness of his holding any office or work in the Central Government or State Government or a money related company claimed or controlled by the Central Government or the State Government, all things considered, he might not be subject for prosecution. Where any offense under this Act has been conferred by an organization and it is demonstrated that the offense has been submitted with the assent or conspiracy of, or is owing to, any disregard with respect to, any executive, chief, secretary or other officer of the organization, such chief, supervisor, secretary or other officer should likewise be considered to be liable of that offense and might be subject to be continued against and rebuffed accordingly. Notice served on organization yet not MD and executive who are gatherings in protest, is legitimate notice U/S 138.


Civil or Criminal Wrong

Simply in light of the fact that a demonstration has a common cure is not adequate to strip it of its criminal outfit. Both criminal law and common law cure can be sought after in differing circumstances. Indeed they are not totally unrelated but rather plainly co-broad and basically contrast in their substance and result. The protest of criminal law is to rebuff a guilty party who perpetrates an offense against a man, property or the State for which the charged, on evidence of the offense, is denied of his freedom and at times even his life. This does not, notwithstanding, influence common cures at all to suing the Cretan on the off chance that like torching, mischances and so on. It is an abomination to assume that when a common cure is accessible, a criminal indictment is totally barred. Filing of common suit and recording of criminal agreeable are not elective cures and they are diverse kind of rights.

There is nothing in law to keep the criminal courts from taking insight of the offense just on the grounds that on similar actualities, the individual concerned may likewise be subjected to common risk or in light of the fact that common cure is reachable. Sec.420 is substantial even after Sec.138 is introduced. Section 420 Indian Penal Code can be clubbed with protestations documented Under Section 138 of NI Act. On the off chance that Section 138 not made out then Section 420 IPC can be drawn such protest was expelled by justice under Section 138 and 141 of NI Act. High Court coordinated to take insight under Section 120-B and 420 IPC. Such choice of the High Court held to be legitimate by the Supreme Court. When the cheque was disrespected for inadequacy of assets such individual issuing a cheque is at risk for offense of Sec. 138 of N.I. Act yet not u/s 420 of IPC. If there should be an occurrence of indictment propelled under Section 420 IPC in regard of shame of cheques, arraignment needs to set up realities which by all appearances indicate the conclusion that the inability to meet the cheque was not coincidental but rather was an outcome expected and was proposed by the accused.


Sec. 138 makes statutory offense in the matter of shame of keeps an eye on the ground of inadequacy of assets in the record kept up by a man with the financier. It makes the matter of disrespecting of minds grounds of inadequate store, a statutory offense. In the instances of shame of cheques mens rea is not required. Offense under 138 is an offense with no mens rea yet it depends on a negotiable instrument i.e. cheque, If a cheque is issued in release of a lawfully enforceable obligation and on introduction of the cheque for encashment the same is disrespected and offense will come into existence under Sec 138 of the N.I demonstration. The conditions under which the shame occurred is superfluous. The law just takes perception of the way that the installment has not been imminent and it is important little that any of the complex reasons may have brought about that situation. Imperfection in structure cheque won’t draw in Sec. 138. Dishonor of cheque in view of deficient mark on cheque of drawer did not pull in Sec 138.

Grievance under Sec. 138 of the Act can’t be subdued or expelled only in light of the fact that the notice was not served on the charged or drawer, without enquiring into the conditions prompting to the non-serving of the notice. Burden is on the complainant to demonstrate that the denounced has figured out how to get off base postal request support made.

It is mistaken to understand that Sec. 138 would not matter from a shut ledger, Sec. 138 does not call for such a tight development, and such an elucidation would vanquish the arrangement of the act.

The weight of confirmation as to cheque has not been issued for lawful obligation or risk, is dependably on the accused. Complainant is not required to show number of witnesses and heft of narrative confirmation on the question.


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