The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 was enacted to define and amend the law relating to Promissory Notes, Bills of Exchange and Cheques.
The main object of this negotiable instrument is to encourage the usage of cheque and enhance the credibility of the instrument so that the normal business transactions and settlement of liabilities could be ensured.
Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 deals with the offence pertaining to dishonor of cheque, drawn for discharge of any debt or other liability, on account of insufficiency of funds in the drawer's account or on account of the fact that the cheque amount is more than the amount agreed to be paid by the bank, and provides for penalties for such dishonour.
The provisions of the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015 shall be deemed to have come into force on the 15th Day of June, 2015, the day on which the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 was promulgated to further amend the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015 is focused on clarifying the jurisdiction related issues for filing cases for offence committed under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the government said.
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015, facilitates filing of cases only in a court within whose local jurisdiction the bank branch of the payee, where the payee delivers the cheque for payment through his account, is situated, except in case of bearer cheques, which are presented to the branch of the drawee bank and in that case the local court of that branch would get jurisdiction.
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015 provides for retrospective validation for the new scheme of determining the jurisdiction of a court to try a case under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2015 also mandates centralisation of cases against the same drawer.
The clarification of jurisdictional issues may be desirable from the equity point of view as this would be in the interests of the complainant and would also ensure a fair trial.Further, the clarity on jurisdictional issue for trying the cases of cheque bouncing would increase the credibility of the cheque as a financial instrument.
This is expected to help the trade and commerce in general and allow the lending institutions, including banks, to continue to extend financing to the productive sectors of economy, as the process of pursuing the cheque bouncing cases relating to loan default has been made simpler and efficient through the proposed amendments to the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
In view of the urgency to create a suitable legal framework for determination of the place of jurisdiction for trying cases of dishonour of cheques under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, it was decided by the Government to introduce suitable amendments to the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.