When a cheque is issued, what should be considered the date of payment? Is it when the cheque is physically handed over or when it is debited from the drawer’s account and credited to the payee’s?
Under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, a cheque is an instrument negotiated by delivery. The drawer is discharged when payment is made in due course. In simple terms, this means when the cheque is tendered, there is a presumption that payment would be realised in due course, and, hence, the date of payment is considered to be the date on which the cheque is delivered, regardless of when it is actually presented for payment. This principle would not apply in the event of the cheque getting dishonoured. Thus, the date of tendering is to be considered the date of payment, just like a cash payment. This is the legal interpretation enunciated by the Supreme Court.