Notes and Articles for Law students

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Drawee’s time for deliberation

Section 63 of the Negotiable Instruments Act,1881.

The holder must, if so required by the drawee of a bill of exchange presented to him for acceptance, allow the drawee 1[forty-eight] hours (exclusive of public holidays) to consider whether he will accept it.

This section enables the drawee to have sometime for deliberation before taking up a liability. Although the drawee is not entitled to ask the holder to leave the bill with him as a matter of right he can only postpone his acceptance, if he accepts it at all. The ordinary practice is to leave the bill with the drawee during the period of deliberation. The period of deliberation fixed by the section is forty-eight hours exclusive of all public holidays.

The word ‘forty-eight' was substituted for the word ‘twenty-four’ by Sec 2 of Act XII of 1921. When after the period of deliberation granted by this section a bill is accepted, the acceptance dates back to the date of presentment. Presentment for acceptance must, always and in every case, precede presentment for payment and the drawer of a bill contracts that whenever the bill is duly presented, it will, subject to the provisions of this section, be accepted.

The section has no application to bills the acceptance of which is not obligatory, as for instance, where a bill is not capable of being accepted. This section, read with section 83, does not apply to a hundi payable on demand. Under section 63, it is only a bill payable after sight which requires to be presented to the drawee for acceptance and it is only to such a bill that the section applies.

Bill missing from drawee

When a bill is left with the drawee during the period of deliberation for acceptance and the drawee destroys it, or does not return it, the holder can sue him either for recovery of the bill or for damages. The drawee must take due care of the bill and in case of non-acceptance must return it uncancelled. When a bill is returned to a wrong person owing to the negligence of the holder the drawer does not become liable.