Dishonour of Cheque on the ground of Account Closed or Signature does not tally

Dishonoured On the ground of Account Closed/Signature does not tally with the specimen ?
One of the pre-requisites to file a Complaint under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonour of Cheques is- A demand should have been made for the payment of the amount of the cheque by a written notice to the drawer within thirty days (before amendment 15 days) from the receipt of information by the payee or holder in due course from the Bank regarding the unpaid cheque.

The below incident shows that one should be very alert and informed while dealing with bounced cheques!
In a particular instance, the drawer of the cheque had issued a cheque for Rs.2,50,000/- towards the discharge of debt liability in favour of the payee/complainant(one who has filed the complaint).

The cheque was presented on 3/6/1998 and it was dishonoured on the ground account closed by the drawer.
Without issuing a statutory notice within 15 days (after amendment 30 days) he re-presented the cheque on 25/6/1998 through Syndicate Bank for collection.

The cheque was dishonoured again on the ground that account closed.Then a statutory notice was issued within 15 days from the date 25/06/1998 and a private complaint was filed under the assumption that he was well within the time of limitation to file the complaint after re-presentation of the cheque.

In this case the accused(the drawer) denied the existence of any debt liability.And submits that the accused had handed over a signed blank cheque to his wife which was given to the daughter of the accused and from whom the cheque is taken by the complainant and after fabrication a false complaint is filed.

In the Criminal Appeal the High Court felt the dishonour of a cheque on the ground of account closed may be technically within the meaning of legal phrase of insufficiency of fund. But as a fact, both the situations are not always identical. In the case of literal situation of insufficiency of funds in the account successive presentation may serve purpose. The drawer could be given opportunity to make good the funds in the account for honouring the cheque on the second presentation. But in the case of account closed the question of successive presentation makes no sense because the account itself is not in existence. There is no possibility of having a fruitful result by successive presentation, unlike the case of insufficiency of funds. Therefore, whenever the cheque is dishonoured on the ground of account closed, the payee cannot resort to successive presentation to save the limitation time. So also in the case of dishonour of cheque on the ground that the signature does not tally with the specimen.
Therefore the court held:In the instant case, it is substantially established by the accused(the drawer of the cheque) that the cheque was dishonoured on 3/6/1998 on its first presentation on the ground of Account Closed. Therefore, the conduct of the complainant in representing the cheque on 25/06/1998 is an unwarranted and unnecessary exercise in law.

The limitation should be computed from the date of dishonour i.e. on 3/6/1998. The legal notice issued by the complainant is beyond the period of 15 days envisaged under section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act and is not in accordance with law. The complaint is barred by limitation. Accordingly the order of acquittal of accused is confirmed. The Criminal appeal filed by the Complainant is dismissed. [2007(4) AIR Kar R 523]

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