Rules Regarding Presentment for Acceptance

Presentment by whom to be made: Section 61 says that presentment for acceptance should be made by the person entitled to demand acceptance. This means that the bill should he presented by the holder, or by somebody else on behalf of the holder. 

In the case of a bill payable at sight, both presentment for acceptance and presentment for payment are combined into one, and therefore the person entitled to present it for acceptance. If, however, a bill is presented by a person who is not entitled to demand acceptance, but the instrument is accepted by the drawee, such acceptance will be deemed to have been made for the benefit of the person really entitled to the bill. Presentment for acceptance can also be made by the holder, or through his authorised agent.


Time for presentment: A bill payable after sight must, if no time is specified therein for presentment, be presented for acceptance within a reasonable time after it is drawn. If the bill itself specifies a period for presentment, it must be presented within that period. In the case a bill of which presentment for acceptance is optional, if the holder chooses to present it for acceptance, he may do so at any time before payment.


Effects of non-presentment: In the case where presentment is essential but presentment is not made, the liability on the bill or note is discharged and also action is not maintainable in respect of the consideration. Where a suit is filed by the endorsees of a bill against the endorser and the drawer and presentment for acceptance is not established the plaintiff’s suit is liable to dismissal.

In the case of a bill of exchange payable at sight, the law does not necessarily require it to be presented by the holder to the drawee for acceptance. If the holder does not elect to present the instrument for acceptance but merely presents the same for payment and the drawee makes default, notice of dishonour to the drawer must be given under section 30 of the Act in order to make him liable.

Presentment for acceptance when excused: Presentment for acceptance is excused, and the bill may be treated as dishonoured by non-acceptance in the following cases:

a) Where the drawee is a fictitious person, or is a person incompetent to contract.

b) The drawee cannot find even after a reasonable search.

c) Where, although presentment has been irregular, acceptance has been refused on some other ground.

If a bill is transferred to a holder at so short a time before maturity that presentment is impossible, it will be excused only as regards the liability of the party so transferring. The holder’s obligation to present the bill for acceptance is not gone, even if the drawer requests the drawee not to accept the bill, if presented.

Similarly, a holder is bound to make presentment for acceptance, even if the drawee has become insolvent. But, if a drawee once refuses to accept when the bill is presented to him, he cannot oblige the holder to present it to him again, even if he promises that it will be accepted by him.


Place of presentment: Presentment for acceptance may be made to the drawee at any place. If, however, the place of presentment for acceptance is definitely mentioned in the instrument, it must be presented at that place. In case the maker of a promissory note does not reside at the place specified in the note and the instrument is in possession of the person in whose favour it was executed, no presentment is necessary. If no place for presentment is specified, then the bill should be presented at the drawee’s usual place of business or residence.


Proof of presentment: The burden of proving presentment is on the plaintiff. In a case, where presentment is necessary, presentment should be definitely proved in order to enable a party to recover his claim on it.


Promissory note payable at a certain period after sight: Where a promissory note is made payable after sight, presentment of it for sight is necessary in order to fix the maturity of the instrument. The expression “after sight” on a bill of exchange means after acceptance or protest for non-acceptance, and not after a mere private exhibition to the drawee. If a promissory note is made after sight, it means that payment is not to be demanded till it is again exhibited to the maker.


Drawee’s time for deliberation: “The holder must, if so, required by the drawee of a bill of exchange presented to him for acceptance, allow the drawee forty-eight hours (exclusive of public holidays) to consider whether he will accept it” (section 63).

Delay may be excused, where it has been occasioned by circumstances over which the holder of the instrument had absolutely no control such as declaration of war, obstructing the transmission of the instrument by the holder for payment, or a declaration of a moratorium, illness of the holder, or even loss of the instrument.

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