Yes, you can be arrested for a cheque bounce in India. But without a warrant from court, the police cannot arrest you for cheque bounce in India. As cheque bounce is a Cognizable offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 and is punishable with an imprisonment for a term which may be extended to two years, or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of the cheque, or with both. When a cheque got bounced by the drawer bank where the bank issues a “Cheque Return Memo” (which states reasons for non-payment) along with the bounced cheque, then the Payee has to send as per Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 a legal notice to the defaulter within 30 days of receiving the cheque return memo. All the relevant facts of the case, including the nature of transaction, amount, date of depositing the instrument in the bank, and subsequent date of dishonouring, should be clearly mentioned in the notice, giving him an opportunity, to pay within 15 days of receiving such Demand Notice. If the cheque issuer fails to make a payment within 30 days of receiving the notice, the payee has the right to file a criminal complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. However, the complaint should be registered in a magistrate's court within a month of the expiry of the notice period of 15 days. Then the court will analyse the case and the court will summon the accused drawer of the cheque which means that the court will ask him/her to appear before it on a particular date. A bailable warrant can be issued by the court, upon the request of the complainant, against the accused if they do not comply with the summons order and fail to appear before the court. But if the accused still absconds and does fail to appear before the court, then the court has the power to issue a non-bailable warrant against them.
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