Legal Demand Notice must Specify the Cheque Amount U/s 138 Negotiable Instruments Act: Supreme Court


In a recent judgment by the Supreme Court of India [Upasana Mishra Vs. Trek Technology India Pvt. Ltd.], the legal intricacies surrounding a demand notice under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881 (N.I. Act) came under scrutiny. The case arose from the Special Leave Petition filed by Upasana Mishra against Trek Technology India Pvt. Ltd., challenging the order of the High Court of Delhi.



The appellant contested the final order of the High Court dated 13.04.2023, which dismissed the petitioner’s plea for quashing the summoning order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate in CC No.631164/2016. The appellant, relying on the decision in “Suman Sethi Vs. Ajay K. Churiwal & Another [(2002) 2 SCC 380)],” argued that the Legal notice was invalid for not adhering to the mandatory legal requirements under the N.I. Act.


Court’s Analysis: 

The Supreme Court, in its order dated December 12, 2023, delved into the central issue of the validity of the demand notice. The Court observed that the parties on both sides relied on the decision in “Suman Sethi,” which established principles regarding the sufficiency of demand notices under Section 138 of the N.I. Act.

The Court emphasised the settled principle that a demand notice must be read as a whole. It reiterated that the notice should clearly demand the ‘cheque amount,’ and an omnibus demand without specifying the amount due under the dishonoured cheque would render the notice invalid.


Key Legal Principles: 

The Court cited the relevant paragraph from the “Suman Sethi” case, which stated that the notice must make a demand for the ‘said amount’ (cheque amount) and if it includes additional claims like interest, damages, etc., those claims must be separately specified. The Court clarified that such additional claims are severable and do not invalidate the notice.



Upon scrutinising the Legal Demand Notice, the Supreme Court found an omnibus demand for Rs.6,50,000/- in addition to interest, damages, and notice charges. Notably, the demand did not specify the cheque amount. Applying the principles laid down in “Suman Sethi,” the Court concluded that the Legal Demand Notice was invalid.

Consequently, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, setting aside the impugned order of the High Court and quashing the summoning order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate.


The Supreme Court’s decision in the UPASANA MISHRA case reaffirms the importance of precision in demand notices under the N.I. Act. The Court’s adherence to the principles laid down in “Suman Sethi” underscores the need for clarity in specifying the cheque amount in a demand notice.


This case serves as a reminder of the meticulous legal scrutiny applied to procedural aspects, ensuring fair and just outcomes in matters pertaining to negotiable instruments and financial transactions.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content may not reflect the most current legal developments and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Readers should consult a qualified legal professional before taking any action based on the information provided. The authors and publishers disclaim any liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of reliance on this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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