Presentment For Acceptance

Presentment means placing the negotiable instrument before a drawee. Presentment is done for any of the following three purposes:

1) for acceptance,

2) for sight, and

3) for payment.

Now in this section we shall discuss presentment for acceptance.

Among the three negotiable instruments (i.e., bill of exchange, promissory note and cheque), it is only the bill of exchange that can be presented for acceptance. It is not necessary in all cases to present a bill of exchange for acceptance before presenting it for payment. Presentment of a bill for acceptance is necessary only in two cases:

(1) where a bill is payable after sight, (in order to assure the responsibility for payment on maturity of the instrument), and

(2) where a bill expressly stipulates that it shall be presented for acceptance before it is presented for payment.

In other cases, presentment for acceptance depends upon the discretion of the payee to take it to the drawee for acceptance. Thus, where a bill is payable at a fixed period after date or on the happening of a certain event, the holder may or may not, as he thinks fit, present the bill for acceptance, though in the majority of cases the bill will probably be presented. Neglect to present cannot affect the liability of the parties to the holder, in case the bill is dishonoured by non-payment. It is necessary that the person who has to pay the bill shall have accepted it, in order to complete a legal formality. It can be negotiated even before acceptance and in such cases, the holder may sue upon it as a holder in due course.

In cases where presentment is essential, in the absence of proof of presentment, no claim can succeed. It is also open to the parties to contract themselves out of the obligation of presenting the bill. They may stipulate in the bill that payment is to be made without acceptance. It has further been repeatedly held in connection with bills payable on demand or bills payable on a fixed date that presentation is not compulsory but only optional. However, it is advisable that the bill is presented for acceptance so that, on its acceptance, the holder obtains an additional security of the acceptor. In case the drawee refuses to accept, the holder can give notice of dishonour and sue the drawer immediately without waiting for the date of maturity of the bill.

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