Rules Regarding Presentment for Payment

In order to constitute a valid presentment for payment, the document must be actually presented so as to enable the person presenting, to deliver it forthwith on payment to him. Briefly, due presentment for payment means presentment: (i) on the proper day, (ii) at the proper hour, (iii) by the proper person, (iv) at the proper place, (v) to the proper person, and (vi) in the proper manner.

Let us study these rules in detail.

1) Presentment to whom: Section 64 must be read with section 75. If the party has been declared an insolvent, presentment may, be made to him or his assignee, as the holder chooses. If there are several makers, drawees or acceptors, not being partner and no place of payment is specified, presentment must be made to all of them.

Presentment of a promissory note is not necessary when the payment of the promissory note is to be made at the place of the creditor but presentment of a promissory note or bill of exchange is necessary when the payment is to be made at the place of the debtor.


2) Effect of non-presentment: The drawer and endorsers in the case of bills and cheques and only the endorsers in the case of notes, are discharged on default of presentment. This is due to the fact that their liability is conditional, and if the condition is not fulfilled, the liability is discharged. It is a well-recognised rule of law that a discharge of the principal is discharge of the surety; the contract or engagement of the surety being but an accessory to the principal’s agreement terminates with it.


3) Waiver of presentment: Presentment may be waived expressly or impliedly. There may be an express waiver by stipulation inserted in the bill.

A waiver may be implied in the conduct of the party, as when a man with notice of the failure or undue delay in presentment, promises to pay the bill, or makes or promises to make a partial payment on account.

Presentation for payment is necessary in order to charge the “other parties i.e., parties other than the holder. This expression must be interpreted to exclude from its ambit also the maker of a cheque. There is a distinction between ‘maker’ and ‘drawer’. The word maker is used in relation to all the three types of negotiable instruments (namely, promissory note, a bill of exchange and cheque), while the word drawer is used only in relation to a bill-of-exchange and a cheque.

Where a promissory note is expressed to be payable on demand, but no place of payment is specified in it, the phrase, “on demand” in the note is a mere technical expression meaning that payment ought to be made immediately or at once. It does not imply a condition that a demand should be made before action is brought. The action itself is a sufficient demand.


4) Specified place: If the place of presentment is specified, the obligation to pay arises at that on such presentment. In other words, the place specified for payment must be equivalent to an address. The maker must be able to find the addressee by the exercise of reasonable diligence. If the maker or drawee or acceptor of a negotiable instrument has no known place of business or fixed residence and no place is specified in the instrument for presentment for acceptance or payment, such presentment may be made to him in person wherever he can be found (section 71).


5) Hours of Presentment: Presentment for payment must be made during the usual hours of business, and, if at a banker’s place, it should he within banking hours (section 65).


6) Presentment of instruments payable otherwise than on demand: Section 66 refers to two classes of instruments not payable on demand:

(1) those that are payable at a specified period after date, and

(2) those that are payable at a specified period after sight.

But such instruments must be presented for payment at maturity. There may be instruments not payable on demand besides those specified above (e.g., bills payable on the lapse of a certain period after the happening of a specified event). In such a case, presentment will depend on the circumstances of the case.


7) Presentment of cheque to charge any other person: A cheque must, in order to charge any person except the drawer, be presented within a reasonable time after delivery thereof by such person (section 73).

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