Since the Amendment Act of the Negotiable Instruments, 1881 has not made the provision applicable retrospectively, Section 143-A cannot be applied retrospectively, to pending cases. However the situation regarding Section 148 of the Act is drastically different and such provision shall govern all the appeals pending on date of enforcement of this provision or filed thereafter.
Section 143-A of the Act cast a substantive obligation upon the accused and thereby effect the substantive right of the accused. Since the Amendment Act has not made the provision applicable retrospectively, specifically, to pending cases, hence, it cannot be applied retrospectively, to pending cases; which arose from the default of the accused which has taken place before coming into force of this provision. Although the provision of Section 143-A of the Act cannot be applied to the pending trials, however, this Court finds that the situation regarding Section 148 of the Act is drastically different. Further, this Court also finds substance in the argument of learned counsel for the respondent that although ‘Right to Appeal’, per se, is a substantive right, however, no person have a substantive or vested right to claim that he would file and prosecute appeal only in accordance with any particular provision.
Hence, for obvious reasons, the rationale qua objects and reasons of the Act, which is applicable at the stage of trial; cannot be imported to the stage of appeal. As mentioned above, at the stage of trial, the provision of Section 143-A of the Act has created a new ‘obligation’ against the accused, which was not contemplated by the existing law and which created a substantive liability upon him, whereas the provision of Section 148 of the Act only reiterated; and to some extent modified in favour of the appellant, the procedure of recovery already existing in the statute book.
Judgement link : https://phhc.gov.in/enq_caseno.php?var1=CRR&var2=9872&var3=2018