Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

Section 139 of The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

2 min read

139. Presumption in favor of holder.- It shall be presumed, unless the Contrary is proved, that the holder of a cheque received the cheque of the nature referred to in section 138 for the discharge, in whole or in part, or any debt or other liability.


   i.        Under section 139 of the Act there is a legal presumption that the cheque was issued for discharging an antecedent liability and that presumption can be rebutted only by the person who drew the cheque. The aforesaid presumption is favor of the holder of cheque. It is not mentioned in the section that the said presumption would operate only against the drawer. After all a presumption is only for casting the burden of proof as to who should advance evidence in a case. It is open to any one of the accused to adduce evidence to rebut the said presumption. In a prosecution where both the drawer company and its office-bearers are arrayed as accused, and if the drawer company does not choose such rebuttal evidence it is open to the other office-bearers-accused to adduce such rebuttal evidence. If that be so, even in a case where the drawer company is not made an accused but the office-bearers of the company alone are made the accused such office-bearer-accused are well within their rights to adduce rebuttal evidence to establish that the company did not issue the cheque towards any antecedent liability; Anil Haha v. Indian Acrylic Ltd.,, AIR 2000 SC 145.

  ii.        The presumption under section 139 can be rebutted by the accused but adducing evidence. So the burden of proof is on the accused and the evidence available or record will have to be appreciated by bearing in mind the above fact regarding burden of proof; K. I. George v. Muhammed Master, (1999) 97 Comp Cas 664.

Leave a Reply