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Delhi HC Clarifies Calculation of Limitation Period in Cases Under Negotiables Instruments Act

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Limitation period refers to the period wherein a case can be filed. This period varies from matter to matter and usually is dependent on the Act and the nature of the offence or wrong. The Delhi High Court laid down clarification in the calculation of the limitation period in cases of offences foiled under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.


Petitioner had borrowed Rs 10 lacs in the form of 2 Rs 5 lacs checks from the respondent. Three years later the respondent approached the petitioner for repayment of the debt. The petitioner assuming that the respondent wanted a single payment issued a single check for Rs 10 lacs which was dishonoured due to insufficiency of funds. When the petitioner was informed of this, no notice of the complaint was taken. A legal notice was filed which was also ignored, therefore a case was filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The revisional court had summoned the petitioner.


The major contention was with regard to the jurisdiction powers of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court. The petitioners held that the case was filed under Section 138 of the NI Act and therefore fell outside the jurisdiction of the Court.

The second contention was that the limitation period was expired so the Metropolitan Magistrate Court could not issue summons to the petitioner.


The Court referred to the decisions in the cases of Econ Antri Ltd. v. Rom Industries Ltd., ((2014) 11 SCC 769) and Saketh India Ltd. v. India Securities Limited, ((1999) 3 SCC 1). The crux of these cases was to determine the calculation of the limitation period with regard to Section 138 and 142(b) of the Negotiable Instruments Act. According to the judgements in these cases, one day should be deducted from one month from the commencement of the limitation period to find out the date of expiration.


On analysing the decisions in the refereed cases, the Court came to the conclusion the limitation period, had expired on 19-07-2019. The case had commenced on 20-06-2019, according to the law, the limitation period expired on 19-07-2019. The bench held that the decision of both the lower court was wrong. The lower courts had incorrectly calculated the limitation period. Therefore, the High Court set aside the order of the lower court.

Simranpal Singh Suri v. State, Crl. M.C. No. 2536 of 2020 and Cl. M.A. No. 17950 of 2020 is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgement from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also contribute blog, articles, story tip, judgment and many more and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

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