The word ‘endorsement’ in its literal sense means, a writing on the back of an instrument. But under the negotiable instruments Act it means, the writing of one’s name on the back of the instrument or any paper attached to it with the intention of transferring the rights therein. Thus endorsement is signing a negotiable instrument for the purpose of negotiation. The person who effects an endorsements is called an ‘endorser’ and the person to whom negotiable instrument is transferred by endorsement are called the ‘endorsee’.

Essentials of a valid Endorsement

The following are the essentials of valid endorsement :

1. It must be on the instrument. The endorsement may be on the back or face of the instrument and if no space is left on the instrument, it may be made on a separate paper attached to it called allonage. It should usually be in ink.

2. It must be made by the maker or holder of the instrument. A stranger cannot endorse it.


3. It must be signed by the endorser. Full name is not essential. Initials may suffice. Thumb-impression should be attested. Signature may be made on any part of the instrument.

4. It may be made either by the endorser merely signing his name on the instrument (it is a black endorsement) or by any word showing an intention to endorse or transfer the instrument to a specified person (it is a blank endorsement) or by any words showing an intention to endorse or transfer the instrument to a specified person (it is an endorsement in full). No specific form of words is prescribed for an endorsement. But intention to transfer must be present.

5. It must be completed by delivery of the instrument. The delivery must be made by the endorser himself or by somebody on his behalf with the intention of passing property therein. Thus where a person endorses an instrument to another and keeps it in his papers where it is found after his death and then delivered to the endorsee, the latter gets no right on the instrument.

If delivery is conditional endorsement is not complete until the condition is fulfilled.


6. It must be an endorsement of the entire bill. A partial endorsement i.e. which purports to transfer to the endorsee a part only of the amount payable does not operate as a valid endorsement.