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NI Act: Section 148 Has Retrospective Application, But 143A Is Prospective, Reiterates SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
8 Jan 2020 11:27 AM GMT
NI Act: Section 148 Has Retrospective Application,  But 143A Is Prospective, Reiterates SC [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court has reiterated that Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is retrospective, while Section 143A is not. In this case, the accused was convicted for the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act. The Appellate Court required them to deposit 25% of the amount of compensation/fine imposed by the trial Court, pending appeals challenging the order of conviction...

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The Supreme Court has reiterated that Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is retrospective, while Section 143A is not. 

In this case, the accused was convicted for the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act. The Appellate Court required them to deposit 25% of the amount of compensation/fine imposed by the trial Court, pending appeals challenging the order of conviction and sentence. The case reached the Supreme Court in which the question arose whether Section 148 is retrospective or not.

In May 2019, a two judge bench of the Supreme Court held that Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act as amended, shall be applicable in respect of the appeals against the order of conviction and sentence for the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act, even in a case where the criminal complaints for the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act were filed prior to 2018 amendment Act i.e., prior to 01.09.2018.

After the judgment of the Apex Court, the Sessions Judge, in view of the non-compliance of the order to deposit 25% of the amount of compensation/fine imposed by the trial Court,directed the accused to surrender in the trial court within four days. The accused preferred a petition under Section 482 CrPC challenging this order of the Sessions Judge, which was dismissed. It is this order of the High Court which is impugned in the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

Relying on the judgment in G.J. Raja vs. Tejraj Surana which held the provisions of Section 143A of NI Act to be prospective only that is to apply with respect to offence committed after insertion of Section 143A w.e.f. 01.09.2018., the contention raised in the present appeal was  that both Sections 143A and Section 148 inserted in NI Act by amendment Act 20 of 2018, hence Section 148 was not attracted in the present case which was only prospective and could have been utilised in offences which were committed after 01.09.2018. Rejecting the said contention, the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah observed:

The Bench deciding G.J. Raja's case has noticed the judgment of this Court in the appellants' case i.e. Surinder Singh Deswal's case and has opined that the decision of this Court in Surinder Singh Deswal's case was on Section 148 of the N.I. Act which is a stage after conviction of the accused and distinguishable from the stage in which the interim compensation was awarded under Section 143A of the N.I.Act. When the Bench deciding G.J. Raja's case(supra) itself has considered and distinguished the judgment of this Court in appellants' own case i.e. Surinder Singh Deswal's, reliance by the learned counsel for the appellants on the judgment of this Court in G.J. Raja's case is misplaced.

Addressing another contention, the bench observed that when suspension of sentence by the trial court is granted on a condition, noncompliance of the condition has adverse effect on the continuance of suspension of sentence. While dismissing the appeal, it added:

The order of the Additional Sessions Judge declaring that due to noncompliance of condition of deposit of 25% of the amount of compensation, suspension of sentence stands vacated is well within the jurisdiction of the Sessions Court and no error has been committed by the Additional Sessions Judge in passing the order dated 20.07.2019.. It is for the Appellate Court who has granted suspension of sentence to take call on non-compliance and take appropriate decision. What order is to be passed by the Appellate Court in such circumstances is for the Appellate Court to consider and decide. However, non-compliance of the condition of suspension of sentence is sufficient to declare suspension of sentence as having been vacated.


Case name:SURINDER SINGH DESWAL @ COL. S.S. DESWAL vs. VIRENDER GANDHI
Case no.:CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.1936-1963 OF 2019
Coram: Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah


Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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