When a cheque is dishonoured for lack of funds in the drawer’s bank account and the payee proceeds against him under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, he is not making a fresh monetary claim so as to be liable for court fee said the Supreme Court.

On the contrary, he is exercising his statutory remedy to recover the amount that is already due.

Delhi petition

The apex court accordingly advised the Delhi Government to forthwith abolish court fee on petitions filed by the victims of cheque-bounce cases who draw a blank from the drawer after notice is duly served on him after dishonour of the cheque issued by him.

This verdict obviously would apply to all the States that are, at present, levying court fee though the matter before the Supreme Court arose out of a Delhi petition.

(The author is a New Delhi-based chartered accountant.)

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