Exchange of goods and services is the basis of every business activity. Goods are bought and sold for cash as well as on credit. All these transactions require flow of cash either immediately or after a certain time. In modern business, large number of transactions involving huge sums of money take place everyday. It is quite inconvenient as well as risky for either party to make and receive payments in cash. Therefore, it is a common practice for businessmen to make use of certain documents as means of making payment. Some of these documents are called negotiable instruments. In this lesson let us learn about these documents.
On completion of this topic, you should be able to:
Describe the principle of negotiability and the uses of negotiable instrument;
Describe the nature of accommodation bills and promissory notes;
Outline the main legislation dealing with negotiable instruments;
Describe the definitions and types of instruments under the Cheques Act;
Explain transferability with respect to cheques;
Describe the use of signatures and the consequences of unauthorised signatures for drawer and endorser;
Describe what sorts of holders there are on negotiable instruments;
Describe what sorts of crossings can be put on cheques;
Describe role and liability of the drawee and collecting institutions; and
Apply the rules and concepts examined in this topic to factual problems.
Basis of the Law
This law created to govern the creation, transferring and liquidation of Negotiable Instruments, to observe and reconcile the international best practice on Negotiable Instrument.
A negotiable instrument is a document guaranteeing the payment of a specific amount of money, either on demand, or at a set time. According to the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 in India there are just three types of negotiable instruments i.e., promissory note, bill of exchange and cheque. More specifically, it is a document contemplated by a contract, which (1) warrants the payment of money, the promise of or order for conveyance of which is unconditional; (2) specifies or describes the payee, who is designated on and memorialized by the instrument; and (3) is capable of change through transfer by valid negotiation of the instrument. Negotiable instruments distinguished from contract
A negotiable instrument can serve to convey value constituting at least part of the performance of a contract, albeit perhaps not obvious in contract formation, in terms inherent in and arising from the requisite offer and acceptance and conveyance of consideration. The underlying contract contemplates the right to hold the instrument as, and to negotiate the instrument to, a holder in due course, the payment on which is at least part of the performance of the contract to which the negotiable instrument is linked. The instrument, memorializing (1) the power to demand payment; and, (2) the right to be paid, can move, for example, in the instance of a 'bearer instrument', wherein the possession of the document itself attributes and ascribes the right to payment. Certain exceptions exist, such as instances of loss or theft of the instrument, wherein the possessor of the note may be a holder, but not necessarily a holder in due course. Negotiation requires a valid endorsement of the negotiable instrument. The consideration constituted by a negotiable instrument is cognizable as the value given up to acquire it (benefit) and the consequent loss of value (detriment) to the prior holder; thus, no separate consideration is required to support an accompanying contract assignment. The instrument itself is understood as memorializing the right for, and power to demand, payment, and an obligation for payment evidenced by the instrument itself with possession as a holder in due course being the touchstone for the right to, and power to demand, payment. In some instances, the negotiable instrument can serve as...
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