HOW TO FILE CHEQUE DISHONOUR CASE [Made Easy]
In case you have been issued a cheque and the same gets dishonoured, then what is the remedy available to you. In such eventuality, you can either file summary suit for recovery of the amount or in the alternative or side-by-side you can also sue that person criminally. Usually, these days later remedy is more preferred because of it being comparatively quicker process and besides one is entitled for compensation over and above the cheque amount, which in a way compensates for litigation expenses as well as take care for interest. Chances are that the person who has issued you a cheque, shall repay the amount involved at the earliest because of penalty provision in law.
Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account.
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.
Conditions before filing case
The following conditions are to be met with before becoming entitled to sue the person who has issued you a cheque:-
(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 or other liability means a legally enforceable debt or other liability.
Presumption in favour of holder
It shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the holder of a cheque received the cheque, of the nature referred to in section 138, for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability.
Defence which may not be allowed in any prosecution under section 138
It shall not be a defence in a prosecution for an offence under section 138 that the drawer had no reason to believe when he issued the cheque that the cheque may be dishonoured on presentment for the reasons stated in that section.
Offences by companies
(1) If the person committing an offence under section 138 is a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:
Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any person liable to punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge, or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence:
[Provided further that where a person is nominated as a Director of a company by virtue of his holding any office or employment in the Central Government or State Government or a financial corporation owned or controlled by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, he shall not be liable for prosecution under this Chapter.]
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where any offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to, any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
Explanation. For the purposes of this section,
(a) company means any body corporate and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and
(b) director, in relation to a firm, means a partner in the firm.
Cognizance of offences
[(1)] Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),
(a) no Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under section 138 except upon a complaint, in writing, made by the payee or, as the case may be, the holder in due course of the cheque;
(b) such complaint is made within one month of the date on which the cause of action arises under clause (c) of the proviso to section 138:
[Provided that the cognizance of a complaint may be taken by the Court after the prescribed period, if the complainant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not making a complaint within such period;]
(c) no Court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under section 138.
[(2) The offence under section 138 shall be inquired into and tried only by a court within whose local jurisdiction,-
(a) if the cheque is delivered for collection through an account, the branch of the bank where the payee or holder in due course, as the case may be, maintains the account, is situated; or
(b) if the cheque is presented for payment by the payee or holder in due course, otherwise through an account, the branch of the drawee bank where the drawer maintains the account, is situated.
Explanation. – For the purposes of clause (a), where a cheque is delivered for collection at any branch of the bank of the payee or holder in due course, then, the cheque shall be deemed to have been delivered to the branch of the bank in which the payee or holder in due course, as the case may be, maintains the account.]
Power of Court to try cases summarily
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), all offences under this Chapter shall be tried by a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or by a Metropolitan Magistrate and the provisions of sections 262 to 265 (both inclusive) of the said Code shall, as far as may be, apply to such trials:
Provided that in the case of any conviction in a summary trial under this section, it shall be lawful for the Magistrate to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and an amount of fine exceeding five thousand rupees:
Provided further that when at the commencement of, or in the course of, a summary trial under this section, it appears to the Magistrate that the nature of the case is such that a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding one year may have to be passed or that it is, for any other reason, undesirable to try the case summarily, the Magistrate shall after hearing the parties, record an order to that effect and thereafter recall any witness who may have been examined and proceed to hear or rehear the case in the manner provided by the said Code.
(2) The trial of a case under this section shall, so far as practicable, consistently with the interests of justice, be continued from day to day until its conclusion, unless the Court finds the adjournment of the trial beyond the following day to be necessary for reasons to be recorded in writing.
(3) Every trial under this section shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible and an endeavour shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date of filing of the complaint.
Power to direct interim compensation
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (2 of 1974) the Court trying an offence under section 138 may order the drawer of the cheque to pay interim compensation to the complainant—
(a) in a summary trial or a summons case, where he pleads not guilty to the accusation made in the complaint; and
(b) in any other case, upon framing of charge.
(2) The interim compensation under sub-section (1) shall not exceed twenty per cent. of the amount of the cheque.
(3) The interim compensation shall be paid within sixty days from the date of the order under sub-section (1), or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the drawer of the cheque.
(4) If the drawer of the cheque is acquitted, the Court shall direct the complainant to repay to the drawer the amount of interim compensation, with interest at the bank rate as published by the Reserve Bank of India, prevalent at the beginning of the relevant financial year, within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the complainant.
(5) The interim compensation payable under this section may be recovered as if it were a fine under section 421 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (2 of 1974).
(6) The amount of fine imposed under section 138 or the amount of compensation awarded under section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (2 of 1974) shall be reduced by the amount paid or recovered as interim compensation under this section.]
Mode of service of summons
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), and for the purposes of this Chapter, a Magistrate issuing a summons to an accused or a witness may direct a copy of summons to be served at the place where such accused or witness ordinarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, by speed post or by such courier services as are approved by a Court of Session.
(2) Where an acknowledgement purporting to be signed by the accused or the witness or an endorsement purported to be made by any person authorised by the postal department or the courier services that the accused or the witness refused to take delivery of summons has been received, the Court issuing the summons may declare that the summons has been duly served.
Evidence on affidavit
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the evidence of the complainant may be given by him on affidavit and may, subject to all just exceptions be read in evidence in any enquiry, trial or other proceeding under the said Code.
(2) The Court may, if it thinks fit, and shall, on the application of the prosecution or the accused, summon and examine any person giving evidence on affidavit as to the facts contained therein.
Banks slip prima facie evidence of certain facts
The Court shall, in respect of every proceeding under this Chapter, on production of banks slip or memo having thereon the official mark denoting that the cheque has been dishonoured, presume the fact of dishonour of such cheque, unless and until such fact is disproved.
Offences to be compoundable
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), every offence punishable under this Act shall be compoundable.]
Power of Appellate Court to order payment pending appeal against conviction
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (2 of 1974) in an appeal by the drawer against conviction under section 138, the Appellate Court may order the appellant to deposit such sum which shall be a minimum of twenty per cent. of the fine or compensation awarded by the trial Court:
Provided that the amount payable under this sub-section shall be in addition to any interim compensation paid by the appellant under section 143A.
(2) The amount referred to in sub-section (1) shall be deposited within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the appellant.
(3) The Appellate Court may direct the release of the amount deposited by the appellant to the complainant at any time during the pendency of the appeal:
Provided that if the appellant is acquitted, the Court shall direct the complainant to repay to the appellant the amount so released, with interest at the bank rate as published by the Reserve Bank of India, prevalent at the beginning of the relevant financial year, within sixty days from the date of the order, or within such further period not exceeding thirty days as may be directed by the Court on sufficient cause being shown by the complainant.]
TIME SCHEDULE FOR TAKING VARIOUS STEPS TO BE STRICTLY ADHERED TO
a) Date of issuance of cheque
Cheque is to be presented before the bank within 90 days from the date of issuance. Cheque can be presented before the bank only thrice.
b) Date of presentation of Cheque before the Bank
Must be within three months from the date of issuance of cheque.
c) Date of dishonour of Cheque
d) Date of receipt of Memo of dishonour of cheque
e) Date of sending of Notice after dishonor of cheque.
Notice must be sent within 30 days from date of dishonor.
f) Date of service of Notice
Cause of action to sue starts from 15 days after the date of service of cheque.
h) Date of filing complaint Complaint must be filed
within one month (30 days) after 15 days period from service of notice is completed.