Negotiable Instruments Law [Sec. 119-125]

VIII. DISCHARGE OF NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS

Sec. 119. Instrument; how discharged. – A negotiable instrument is discharged:

(a) By payment in due course by or on behalf of the principal debtor;

(b) By payment in due course by the party accommodated, where the instrument is made or accepted for his accommodation;

(c) By the intentional cancellation thereof by the holder;

(d) By any other act which will discharge a simple contract for the payment of money;

(e) When the principal debtor becomes the holder of the instrument at or after maturity in his own right.

Sec. 120. When persons secondarily liable on the instrument are discharged. – A person secondarily liable on the instrument is discharged:

(a) By any act which discharges the instrument;

(b) By the intentional cancellation of his signature by the holder;

(c) By the discharge of a prior party;

(d) By a valid tender or payment made by a prior party;

(e) By a release of the principal debtor unless the holder’s right of recourse against the party secondarily liable is expressly reserved;

(f) By any agreement binding upon the holder to extend the time of payment or to postpone the holder’s right to enforce the instrument unless made with the assent of the party secondarily liable or unless the right of recourse against such party is expressly reserved.

Sec. 121. Right of party who discharges instrument. – Where the instrument is paid by a party secondarily liable thereon, it is not discharged; but the party so paying it is remitted to his former rights as regard all prior parties, and he may strike out his own and all subsequent indorsements and against negotiate the instrument, except:

(a) Where it is payable to the order of a third person and has been paid by the drawer; and

(b) Where it was made or accepted for accommodation and has been paid by the party accommodated.

Sec. 122. Renunciation by holder. – The holder may expressly renounce his rights against any party to the instrument before, at, or after its maturity. An absolute and unconditional renunciation of his rights against the principal debtor made at or after the maturity of the instrument discharges the instrument. But a renunciation does not affect the rights of a holder in due course without notice. A renunciation must be in writing unless the instrument is delivered up to the person primarily liable thereon.

Sec. 123. Cancellation; unintentional; burden of proof. – A cancellation made unintentionally or under a mistake or without the authority of the holder, is inoperative but where an instrument or any signature thereon appears to have been cancelled, the burden of proof lies on the party who alleges that the cancellation was made unintentionally or under a mistake or without authority.

Sec. 124. Alteration of instrument; effect of. – Where a negotiable instrument is materially altered without the assent of all parties liable thereon, it is avoided, except as against a party who has himself made, authorized, or assented to the alteration and subsequent indorsers.
But when an instrument has been materially altered and is in the hands of a holder in due course not a party to the alteration, he may enforce payment thereof according to its original tenor.

Sec. 125. What constitutes a material alteration. – Any alteration which changes:

(a) The date;

(b) The sum payable, either for principal or interest;

(c) The time or place of payment:

(d) The number or the relations of the parties;

(e) The medium or currency in which payment is to be made;

(f) Or which adds a place of payment where no place of payment is specified, or any other change or addition which alters the effect of the instrument in any respect, is a material alteration.

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