Para 3. The Act was enacted and Section 138 thereof incorporated with a specified object of making a special provision by incorporating a strict liability so far as the cheque, a negotiable instrument, is concerned. The law relating to negotiable instrument is the law of commercial world legislated to facilitate the activities in trade and commerce making provision of giving sanctity to the instruments of credit which could be deemed to be convertible into money and easily passable from one person to another. In the absence of such instruments, including a cheque, the trade and commerce activities, in the present day would, are likely to be adversely affected as it is impracticable for the trading community to carry on with it the bulk of the currency in force. The negotiable instruments are in fact the instruments of credit being convertible on account of legality of being negotiated and are easily passable from one hand to another. To achieve the objectives of the Act, the legislature has, in its wisdom, thought it proper to make such provisions in the Act for conferring such privileges to the mercantile instruments contemplated under it and provide special penalties and procedure in case the obligations under the instruments are not discharged. The laws relating to the Act are, therefore, required to be interpreted in the light of the objects intended to be achieved by it despite there being deviations from the general law and the procedure provided for the redressal of the grievances to the litigants. Efforts to defeat the objectives of law by resorting to innovative measures and methods are to be discouraged, lest it may affect the commercial and mercantile activities in a smooth and healthy manner, ultimately affecting the economy of the country.
Para 4. Section 138 of the Act makes a civil transaction to be an offence by fiction of law. Where any cheque drawn by a person on an account maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money to another person is returned by the bank unpaid either because of the amount or money standing to the credit of that person being insufficient to honour the cheque or that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid from that account, such person, subject to the other conditions, shall be deemed to have committed an offence under the Section and be punished for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of cheque or with both. To make the dishonour of the cheque as an offence, the aggrieved party is required to present the cheque to the bank within a period of six months from the date on which it is drawn or within the period of its validity, whichever is earlier and the payee or the holder in due course of the cheque makes a demand for payment of the cheque amount by giving a notice in writing to the drawer of the cheque within 15 days of the receipt of information by him from the bank regarding the return of the cheque as unpaid and drawer of the such cheque fails to make the payment of the amount within 15 days of the receipt of the said notice.
Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd v. Galaxy Traders & Agencies Ltd. & Ors. 2001 6 SCC 463