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Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act 1881: Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency of funds in account

Section 138 (Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account) under Chapter XVII (Of Penalties in case of Dishonour of Certain Cheques for Insufficiency of Funds in the Accounts) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 —

❝Where any cheque drawn by a person on an account maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money to another person from out of that account for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability, is returned by the bank unpaid, either because of the amount of money standing to the credit of that account is insufficient to honour the cheque or that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid from that account by an agreement made with that bank, such person shall be deemed to have committed an offence and shall, without prejudice to any other provision of this Act, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to two years’, or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of the cheque, or with both:

Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply unless—
  (a) the cheque has been presented to the bank within a period of six months from the date on which it is drawn or within the period of its validity, whichever is earlier;
  (b) the payee or the holder in due course of the cheque, as the case may be, makes a demand for the payment of the said amount of money by giving a notice; in writing, to the drawer of the cheque, within thirty days of the receipt of information by him from the bank regarding the return of the cheque as unpaid; and
  (c) the drawer of such cheque fails to make the payment of the said amount of money to the payee or, as the case may be, to the holder in due course of the cheque, within fifteen days of the receipt of the said notice.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “debt of other liability” means a legally enforceable debt or other liability.❞



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Notes:

The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (Act No. 26 of 1881) was amended by:

01. Negotiable Instruments Act, 1885 (Act No. 02 of 1885);
02. Amending Act, 1891 (Act No. 12 of 1891);
03. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1897 (Act No. 06 of 1897);
04. Decentralization Act, 1914 (Act No. 04 of 1914);
05. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1914 (Act No. 05 of 1914);
06. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1919 (Act No. 08 of 1919);
07. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1920 (Act No. 25 of 1920);
08. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1921 (Act No. 12 of 1921);
09. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1922 (Act No. 18 of 1922);
10. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1926 (Act No. 30 of 1926);
11. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1930 (Act No. 25 of 1930);
12. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1934 (Act No. 17 of 1934);
13. Government of India (Adaptation of Indian Laws) Order, 1937;
14. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1947 (Act No. 33 of 1947);
15. Indian Independence (Adaptation of Central Acts and Ordinances) Order, 1948;
16. Adaptation of Laws Order, 1950;
17. Part B States (Laws) Act, 1951 (Act No. 03 of 1951);
18. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1952 (Act No. 53 of 1952);
19. Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 1955 (Act No. 37 of 1955);
20. Jammu and Kashmir (Extension of Laws) Act, 1956 (Act No. 62 of 1956);
21. Repealing and Amending Act, 1957 (Act No. 36 of 1957);
22. Banking, Public Financial Institutions and Negotiable Instruments Laws (Amendment) Act, 1988 (Act No. 66 of 1988);
23. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2002 (Act No. 55 of 2002);
24. The Negotiable instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act No. 26 of 2015);
25. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2018 (Act No. 20 of 2018).

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