Section 142 of The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881


What is the procedure for initiation of proceeding for the offence of cheque dishonour under section 138 of NI Act?

Question from - Cheque Bounce | Criminal Law

Section 142 Cognizance of offences: Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)-

(a) no court shall take cognisance of any crime 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 should be filed 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 Court may take the cognisance of a complaint 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.


  • The payee of the cheque can file the complaint. The criminal proceeding initiates by the filing of a complaint.
  • The victim may file a complaint before the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class. No other court has jurisdiction in respect of cheque bounce.
  • The limitation period for filing of the complaint one month from the date on which the cause of action arises.
  • Cause of action arises when the drawer of the cheque is failed to pay the amount of money to the payee within 15 days of the date of receiving of demand notice.
  • Rakesh Nemkumar Porwal vs Narayan Dhondu Joglekar 1993Cri L J 680 (Bom) under clause (c) of the section 138 NI Act, 15 days’ time is granted to the drawer of the cheque to make payment and unless this period elapsed and no payment was made, the drawer was not liable for any offence under section 138 of the NI Act.
  • N. Venkata Sivaram Prasad vs Rajeshwary Construction 1996 Cri. L. J. 3409 (AP) complaint cannot be filed unless the drawer of the cheque fails to make the payment to the payee within 15 days of the receipt of the demand notice.

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