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Report No. 11

21. Scheme adopted for revision and major changes proposed.-

The Act as it stands is not exhaustive. Wherever the Act is silent, the principles of English law have been followed by our courts.1 We have thought it advisable to adopt more of these principles as codified in the Bills of Exchange Act instead of leaving the courts to inquire into the uncertain rules of the law merchant and to apply them to particular cases or to determine whether the principle embodied in any particular provision of the English Act is applicable to such cases.

1. Muthur Sahib v. Kabir Sahib, (1905) 28 Mad 544; Veerappa v. Vellayan, 1919 MWN 780; Royal Bank of Scotland v. Rahim (1924) 49 Bom 270.

A comparative study of the English Bills of Exchange Act and the American Uniform Negotiable Instruments Law as well as the suggestions received from commercial bodies have also induced us to propose other changes in our Act.

22. The existing scheme of arrangement of the Act is confusing1 and illogical. A scrutiny of the provisions of the Act will reveal that some of them are applicable to all the three instruments-promissory notes, bills of exchange and cheques, while some are peculiar to bills of exchange, some to promissory notes and some to cheques. This suggests that the sections which are of a general nature and applicable to all the three instruments should be grouped in one part, while the provisions peculiar to each of these instruments should be placed in separate parts. Following this natural division, we have arranged the sections of the Act in four parts: Part I containing general provisions; Part II relating to bills of exchange; Part III to promissory notes; and Part IV to cheques.

1. Benares Bank Ltd v. Hormusji, (1930) 52 All 696 (697).

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 Back

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