The Limitation Period For Cheque Bounce Case During COVID-19

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Keeping in mind the spread of COVID-19 epidemic, the central and state governments have announced a complete and partial lockdown across the country. The operation of the courts restricts and only urgent cases can be filed through e-filing and raised for hearing through video conferencing by judges. Although the High Courts and the Supreme Court have given the facility to file non-urgent cases online, most subordinate courts are not yet accustomed to the concept of e-filing. Similarly, in most of the original suits/petitions that file in subordinate courts, the question as to the expiration of the limitation period during lockdown poses a serious problem. Additionally, on the Cheque bounce case, the Supreme Court will be confined indefinitely to protect the interest of the litigants.

Law of Limitation

The law relating to limitation sets the time period within which a particular case is to be filed. Further, if a case is filed after the expiry of the limitation period, it can be dealt with by the judge even if the question of limitation is not brought by the other party. Additionally, each type of dispute has its own limitation period and for each dispute, the date from which the limitation period begins is different.

Dishonor  of Cheque 

Negotiations related to the dishonour of Cheque by the Negotiable Instruments Act. In addition, a Cheque is one of the important methods of payment in commercial transactions. This provides for the payment of the loan amount in future.

When is it said that there is a disorder of the Cheque ?
First, for the Cheque bounce case, a Cheque is drawn on one account by one person (payer) who maintains it in favour of another person (PEI).
In addition, the Cheque is drawn to discharge any debt outstanding or other liability.
The said Cheque , when presented by the payee for payment, is not paid by the paying bank for two reasons.
In addition, insufficient balance (or) in the payee’s account
Further, it is more than the amount to be paid from the payer’s account by an agreement made with that bank
In order to promote the use of Cheque in business transactions, the law has given great protection against dishonour of Cheque . Additionally, the delinquency of the Cheque bounce case is punishable by imprisonment. This is a maximum penalty of two years or double the amount of the Cheque .

The general period of Limitation in case of the dishonour of cheque

Presentation of Cheque by Payee at the Bank Within 3 months from date of issue or the date mentioned in the cheque, whichever is earlier
Notice to the Payer demanding payment Within 30 days from the date of receipt of information from the bank
Payment by the Payer Within 15 days from the date of receipt of notice
Filing of Case u/s 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act Within 30 d

Order of supreme court
The Supreme Court has ordered that all limitation periods be extended under Negotiable Instruments Act stand. It is effective from 15/03/2020 until further notice. Assume that after 15/03/2020 limit period for sending a notice to Cheque bounce case dishonest, pay. Furthermore, the case will not begin to be filed until the Supreme Court informs otherwise.

But, if the Cheque is dishonest before 15/03/2020 and the lock period expires during locking. The limitation period for filing a case u / s 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act will be 15 days from the date on which the lockdown lifts. And the courts begin their work under jurisdiction.

Cheque dishonoured before 15/03/2020 and the limitation period expired after 15/03/2020 A case can be filed within 15 days from the date on which lockdown is lifted
Cheque dishonoured after 15/03/2020 The limitation period starts to run after the lockdown is lifted. 

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