What Happens if a Cheque Bounce?

Cheque bounce

This post addresses the most common reasons for cheque bounce in India along with the consequences associated with it. Continue reading to know more.

What is the punishment for a cheque bounce case in India?

Cheque bounce is a violation of the Negotiable Instruments Act, of 1881 under Section 138, which provides for a fine of double the amount of the cheque, a jail term of two years, or both. When the customer presents a cheque to the bank for a claim, the bank dishonors it as unpaid and displays a warning suggesting financial troubles. As a result, it is known as a bounced cheque.

A cheque may bounce for a number of reasons, but if the cheque is dishonored due to insufficient funds in the account of the drawer, it is in violation of the Act. The financial institution should dishonor the reimbursement cheque and issue a return letter or a memo citing insufficient revenue as the reason for the dishonor. In this case, the payee can issue a cheque bounce notification to the drawer of the cheque for payment of the cheque amount.

Do you know?

Cheque bounce is considered one of the most prevalent financial crimes in India and can have serious implications for the issuer, such as bank fines, bad impact on CIBIL score, criminal and civil charges being filed by the aggrieved party, and many more risks.

Cheque: what is this?

Well, a cheque is basically a bill of exchange in which one party asks the bank to transfer money to the other party’s bank account. The Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881 protects it as a negotiable instrument.

Cheque dishonored or cheque bounce

A “cheque bounce” occurs when a bank is unable to process a cheque for any number of reasons. Before moving on to the penalties levied by most Indian banks, let’s take a look at the most common reasons for dishonored cheques and why you should never write a cheque carelessly.

What is the reason for the cheque bounce?

Listed below are some of the most common reasons for cheque bounce in India:

  • Insufficient account balance

If the drawee party’s current balance is insufficient to cover the pay of the cheque, the financial institution must dishonor the cheque. The financial institution must transfer it to the payee with a memo noting that the drawer’s credit limit is insufficient to cover the cheque payment.

  • Overlapping

A cheque is void or invalid if the drawer’s signature, cheque amount, or any other indication has been altered or modified.

  • Expired cheque validity

The drawee party must re-deposit the cheque for payment three months after it is lodged, and the cheque will be voided if not deposited with the financial institution within 3 months. When a bank receives a canceled cheque, it returns it to the sender.

  • Opposite sign

If the drawer’s signature is not present or is illegible, or if it does not match the bank’s database, the cheque may fail.

  • Dishonored cheque

A cheque may bounce if it is mutilated or destroyed, The information is unreadable, and has stains or marks on it.

  • Mismatch of numbers and texts

Well, if the numbers and text on the cheque don’t match, the cheque will be dishonored.

Other possibilities include a problem with the date of the cheque, an error in the amount or account number, an expired cheque, or the drawer’s account being locked. Other concerns may include payment issues. Company seed is not available on cheques, doubtful cheques, insanity or death of the payee, handwriting on cheques, etc.

What Happens When a Cheque Bounces or Is Dishonored?

Depending on the reason for the bounce, the issuer will be liable for a penalty on the dishonored cheque. Dishonor of a cheque due to insufficient funds is a criminal offense under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881. The charge for issuing a cheque against a bank account with insufficient funds should be paid by the payee.

The payee has 3 months from the date of payment to enable the payee to sue or reissue the cheque. The payee can be jailed for a maximum of two years for presenting a dishonored cheque. Banks will also charge you a penalty fee if a cheque is returned to you unpaid. The penalty differs depending on the bank. For dishonored cheque amounts, banks may have several penalty categories.

Latest cheque Bounce Rules

According to an article released by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) in early August 2021, for customers whose financial activities depend heavily on cheques or who intend to use cheques, If this minimum balance is not maintained then the cheque will bounce. In addition, the customer presenting the cheque may face a monetary penalty. Apart from these enhancements, RBI announced that NACH (National Automated Clearing House) will operate 24/7.

These reforms affect all banks, be they private or national. He introduced regular changes to speed up and smoothen the clearing of cheques. Since the new rule requires the National Automated Clearing House to function seven days a week, Sunday will be considered a working day when the institution collects and makes payment of a cheque.

Well, if the payee decides to litigate the drawing party then he gets a chance to pay the amount immediately. To accomplish this, the payee must wait 30 days after receiving the cheque return notice from the financial institution. A payee must send a notice to the drawing party from the date of payment, Stating that the amount should be paid to the payee within fifteen days of the receipt of the notification.

If the drawing party is unable to pay the money to the payee within one month of the receipt of the notification, the payee has every right to file a criminal complaint under the Negotiable Instruments Act, of 1881. However, the payer must complete the charge or inquiry within 30 days of the termination notice period.

Cheque Bounce Treatment

Following are some proven cheque bounce solutions in India:

  • Cheque Resubmission

When a cheque fails to clear, has an inconsistent signature, a discrepancy between numeric numbers and the text of the amount paid, or a damaged cheque, the recipient may request that the cheque be reprinted. Suppose the drawer refuses to honor the second cheque. Instead of having the cheque bounced, the payee can take legal action or file criminal charges against the drawer to recover the money owed to him or her.

  • Cheque Bounce Notice

The 1881 Negotiable Instruments Act (under section 138) requires the payee to provide the notification.

A cheque bounced is issued under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881, when the cheque is dishonored due to insufficient funds in the drawer’s funds to pay the cheque bearer amount. If the cheque bounces for any reason other than lack of cash, no warning is issued, and the payee must request that the cheque be reprinted.

What should you do after being issued a notice regarding a cheque bounce?

Within 15 days of receipt of the cheque bounce notice, the payer can initiate a case against the drawee party. The payee needs to file a complaint under the Negotiable Instruments Act, of 1881 (under section 138). Cheque bounce is an outside offense that the payee can pursue under the Act. The payee has one month from the date of issue of the notification to file or file a complaint with the magistrate regarding the cheque bounce.


According to the Supreme Court of India, there has been a huge increase in cheque bounce cases, with a maximum of 40 lakh cases pending before the courts. However, changes introduced in 2015 and 2018 included a pledge to speed up the resolution of cases and guarantee compensation to victims.

The improvements have increased system visibility by forbidding people from falling behind on their payments, as a consequence, because customers now feel securer, The Section 138 procedure has advantaged the facilitation of business transactions. It’s also helped in the continuity of the current financial system.

To forbid receiving a legal notice, keep the following primary reasons for a cheque bounce into account. Nonetheless, if you’re in legal difficulties as a result of a cheque bounce case, you may seek the assistance of a legal expert at legal tax to help you out of the process. For more information regarding cheque bounce, you can contact us at any time of the day

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