Cheque Bounce is something that all of us would have faced in our lives. However, did you know that the person who had issued the cheque can go to prison for the same? The dishonor of a cheque drawn in furtherance of discharging, any debt or other liability owed by such drawer, is considered to be a criminal offense in India, punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years, or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of the cheque, or with both. Hence, we have discussed below the legal provisions dealing with issues of cheque bounce.
What Does the Law Say?
As it stands, the ingredients required to constitute an offense relating to the dishonor of cheques have been mentioned within Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, and have been reproduced below:
- the cheque should have been issued in discharge of a legally enforceable debt or liability
- the cheque should have been presented within the period of its validity
- the cheque should have been dishonored for want of funds in the account of the drawer
- the payee or holder of the cheque should have issued, within thirty days, a notice in writing to the drawer demanding the amount of cheque
- the drawer must have failed to make payment within fifteen days of receipt of the notice.
The intention of the drawer is not considered relevant while deciding his culpability under this Section. Furthermore, it is worth noting that Section 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act also renders liable, companies, partnership firms, and other associations of individuals liable for the offense mentioned in Section 138. Typically, the persons in charge of the company (usually directors or partners, as the case may be) are held liable for punishment under the same. They may claim defense on the grounds that the offense was committed without their knowledge or that they had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offense. The Court trying a case under Section 138 may order for interim compensation not exceeding twenty percent of the amount of the cheque to the payee during the pendency of the case.
Filing a complaint for Cheque Bounce
If you have been presented with a cheque which gets dishonored, you can take the following steps:
- Send a notice to the drawer of the cheque.
- If the drawer of the cheque does not honor the cheque within 15 days of the receipt of the notice, then file a complaint before the prescribed Court.
- Submit documents such as oath letter, copy of the notice served along with the complaint.
- Preferably, approach a lawyer to contest your case.
What happens if your Cheque Bounces?
Once your cheque bounces, you will be served with a notice to make the payment within 15 days of such notice. If you fail to do so, a complaint against you may be filed. You will be summoned to the Court, and a court proceeding will commence. It is advisable to take legal help in such circumstances.
Cheque bounce offenses lead to imprisonment of up to 2 years along with fine. Furthermore, intention does not play a role in affixing liability. Hence, you may be held liable, despite not intending to dishonor the cheque. The severity and seriousness of this offense hence need to be understood. It is pertinent to take care that if this offense has been committed unintentionally, the amount promised should be paid within the stipulated time period of 15 days. Also, it is preferred that in the event of such a situation arising; one should approach a lawyer and take advice.
When it comes to solving a legal problem, consulting a Legal Expert is the first thing you should do.
Be it your first consultation or a second opinion, don't wait, Talk to a LegalKart Expert NOW. Share your problem, facts and get an Unbiased, Honest and Right Advice.Talk To Lawyer