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Jyothi   15 June 2015

I am a bank officer - urgent issue with cheque bounce

Hi,

I am a Bank officer, and I work in a service branch where we need to pass the cheques after verifying them.

I passed a cheque of Rs 2 Lakh accidentally, and the cheque issuer had just Rs 500 in his account. Money got credited to the recipent person. After realizing my mistake I called up the recipient, and asked him to return back 2 Lakhs, but he refused. Then I called the issuer for refund, and he says he gave the cheque for a return only, and he cant do anything regarding refund of 2 Lakhs. Both of them wont return the 2 Lakhs.

Now, bank is asking me to pay 2 lakhs from my expenses since I passed the cheque. What can I do, is there any way to proceed further - police or court case? Please guide me. 

Thanks. 



 4 Replies

Ompal Aggarwal (Advocate)     16 June 2015

Yes u can make police complaint as well as file case against the drawer.

MPS RAMANI (Scientist/Engineer)     17 June 2015

In your instance there are three individuals or entities viz 1) the recipient, 2) the drawer of the cheque and 3) your employer, the Bank.

You can have no claim on the recipient. The drawer issued the cheque either knowing that there was no adequate balance in his account or inadvertently thinking that there was enough cash in his account. In the first case it is cheating. Whether he intends to cheat or successfully cheats would depend on further developments. If you had noticed that there were not enough funds in drawer’s account and returned the cheque to the payee (the cheque is never returned to the drawer of the cheque) the payee is the victim. He can seek remedy through Section: 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. But in this case the Bank is the victim. You, as an employee of the Bank,  caused the loss to the Bank due to your negligence and oversight. But the Bank cannot absolve itself of its liability by the simple expedient of recovering the amount from you and closing the case. It was a lapse on your part. The Bank can take disciplinary action against you, which can include ultimate, repeat ultimate recovery of the amount from you. There will be rules governing the action to be taken against employees in such cases. But it is the Bank that has been cheated and the Bank should take all measures not only to recover the amount but also take criminal action against the drawer of cheque. The liability of the drawer of the cheque is only a variant of the offence under Section: 138 NI Act. The Bank is more powerful to take action against the offender. They can freeze the assets, if any, of the drawer of the cheque with the Bank. Police will take more prompt action if the Bank makes the complaint. The Bank can do the following. At first send a friendly letter to the depositor to return the amount. Then the Bank can send a registered notice to the depositor. Thereafter file an F.I.R. with the police. If the Bank does not do these things you can yourself do them. You can also complain to the higher ups in the Bank hierarchy. Ultimately you can name the Bank also as the opposite party. But always remember that the Bank is your employer. You may act after a cost-benefit analysis.

cyberlawyer (barrister)     26 July 2015

@ Dr.MPS Ramani

Sir, 

First of all how would the system or the computer through which transfer of funds to the payee account is initiated allow such a transfer when the drawer's account has only Rs.500/- ?. How is this transfer actually effected ?. Isnt the amount of the drawer first debited prior to transfer of funds to the payee ?. 

This transfer must be a computer initiated transfer which will have a verification mechanisim programmed right ?. Even if the banker mistakenly attempts a transfer , isnt this system supposed to check for the details of the drawer prior to transfer ?

MPS RAMANI (Scientist/Engineer)     28 July 2015

The question is to be asked to  Jyothi, the Bank Officer. My response is based on what was reported by Jyothi.

In olden days when things were done manually a credit entry will be made in the payee's account when the cheque is sent for collection to the paying bank or the clearing house. It will be marked as 'uncleared balance' in payee's account. If no reply is received within the stipulated time the entry will be marked 'clear balance'. If the cheque is returned a corresponding debit entry will be made. Only a clear balance can be withdrawn by the account holder. Now accounts and transfers are computerised. In the case of online account to account transfer the 'from computer' will reject if the amount is not available in the account and the transfer will be rejected by the computer. In the case of cheque transfer, a cheque is a physical entity and hence manual intervention becomes necessary. The cheque is ultimately received in the cheque issuers's bank. An officer first satisfies himself the genuineness of the cheque, reads the amount and debits the amount to the cheque issuer's account. When he or she tries to make the entry in the computerised account the computer will either reject or show a negative balance. After entry made into an account in a computer or a physical register it is mandatory to fill up the balance column also. Probably the officer in this case passed the cheque without or before making entry in the cheque issuer's account. The cheque was not returned to the payee's bank. In the absence of any return intimation the payee's bank cleared the amount for payment. This is only my surmise. I have no experience of working in a bank. Even now I find that whenever I clear a cheque through my bank I first find an 'uncleared balance' entry  first and a clear balance entry later in my pass-book.


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