HOLDER IN DUE COURSE
Section 9 of the Act defines ‘holder in due course’ as any person who (i) for valuable consideration, (ii) becomes the possessor of a negotiable instrument payable to bearer or the indorsee or payee thereof, (iii) before the amount mentioned in the document becomes payable, and (iv) without having sufficient cause to believe that any defect existed in the title of the person from whom he derives his title. (English law does not regard payee as a holder in due course). The essential qualification of a holder in due course may, therefore, be summed up as follows: 1. He must be a holder for valuable consideration.
Consideration must not be void or illegal, e.g. a debt due on a wagering agreement. It may, however, be inadequate. A donee, who acquired title to the instrument by way of gift, is not a holder in due course, since there is no consideration to the contract. He cannot maintain any action against the debtor on the instrument. Similarly, money due on a promissory note executed in consideration of the balance of the security deposit for the lease of a house taken for immoral purposes cannot be recovered by a suit. 2. He must have become a holder (passessor) before the date of maturity of the negotiable instrument. Therefore, a person who takes a bill or promissory note on the day on which it becomes payable cannot claim rights of a holder in due course because he takes it after it becomes payable, as the bill or note can be discharged at any time on that day. 3. He must have become holder of the negotiable instrument in good faith. Good faith implies that he should not have accepted the negotiable instrument after knowing about any defect in the title to the instrument. But, notice of defect in the title received subsequent to the acquisition of the title will not affect the rights of a holder in due course. Besides good faith, the Indian Law also requires reasonable care on the part of the holder before he acquires title of the...
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