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Section 4 of the Negotiable Instruments Act 1881: Promissory Note

Section 4 (Promissory note) under Chapter II (Of Notes, Bills and Cheques) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 —

❝A “Promissory note” is an instrument in writing (not being a bank-note or a currency-note) containing an unconditional undertaking, signed by the maker, to pay a certain sum of money only to, or to the order of, a certain person, or to the bearer of the instrument.

Illustrations
A Signs instruments in the following terms:
  (a ) “I promise to pay B or order Rs. 500.”
  (b) “I acknowledge myself to be indebted to B in Rs. 1,000, to be paid on demand, for value received.”
  (c) “Mr. B, I O U Rs. 1,000.”
  (d) “I promise to Pay B Rs. 500 and all other sums which shall be due to him.”
  (e) “I promise to Pay B Rs. 500, first deducting thereout any money which he may owe me.”
  (f) “I promise to Pay B Rs. 500 seven days after my marriage with C.”
  (g) “I, promise to Pay B Rs. 500 on D's death, provided D leaves me enough to pay that sum.”
  (h) “I promise to Pay B Rs. 500 and to deliver to him my black horse on 1st January next.”

 The instruments respectively marked (a) and (b) are promissory notes. The instruments respectively marked (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h) are not promissory notes.❞



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Notes:

(1) List of Amending Acts and Adaptation Orders

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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