Criminal law

Breaking: Section 148 Of Negotiable Instruments Act Has Retrospective Effect, Holds Supreme Court [Read Judgment]

“Section 148 NI Act applies even in a case where the criminal complaints about the offense under Section 138 of the N.I. The act was filed before the 2018 modification Act i.E., before 01.09.2018.” In a vital judgment, the Supreme Court has held that Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, as amended, shall be relevant in appreciate of the appeals in opposition to the order of conviction and sentence for the offense underneath Section 138 of the N.I. Act, even in a case in which the crook proceedings for the offense below Section 138 of the N.I. The act has been filed before the 2018 modification Act, i.E., previous to 01.09.2018.

The bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna upheld a First Appellate Court order that had directed the appellants-convicts to deposit 25% of the amount of high-quality/compensation ordered via the Trial Court. (This First Appellate court docket order turned into later affirmed through the Punjab and Haryana High Court). Section 148 of the NI Act, delivered vide a modification in 2018, empowers the Appellate Court to direct the accused/appellant to ‘deposit’ a minimum of 20% of ‘high-quality’ or ‘compensation’ offered with the aid of the Trial Court.

In Surinder Singh Deswal @ Col. S.S. Deswal vs. Virender Gandhi, the Supreme Court bench’s difficulty turned into whether or not the first appellate court is justified in directing the appellants – original accused who has been convicted for the offense below Section 138 of the N.I. Act to deposit 25% of the quantity of reimbursement/exceptional imposed by using the discovered trial Court, pending appeals challenging the order of conviction and sentence and even postponing the sentence beneath Section 389 of the Cr.P.C., considering Section 148 of the N.I. Act as amended?

Court

The competition of the accused before the Apex Court became that Section 148 shall now not be applicable with admire to criminal proceedings already initiated before the amendment in Section 148 of the N.I. Act
Explaining the object of the 2018 amendment, the bench said that due to the postponed strategies of unscrupulous drawers of dishonored cheques due to the easy filing of appeals and obtaining live on proceedings, the Parliament concept matches to amend Section 148 of the N.I. Act. The courtroom delivered that through the amendment, it cannot be said that any vested proper of the appeal of the accused-appellant has been taken away and/or affected. It found:

“Therefore, thinking about the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the amendment in Section 148 of the N.I. The act stated hereinabove, on a purposive interpretation of Section 148 of the N.I. Act as amended, we think that Section 148 of the N.I. Act as amended will be applicable in admire of the appeals against the order of conviction and sentence for the offense underneath Section 138 of the N.I. Act, even when the crook complaints about the offense under Section 138 of the N.I. The act had been filed before change Act No. 20/2018, i.E., previous to 01.09.2018. If one of these purposive interpretations isn’t always followed, in that case, the object and reason for a change in Section 148 of the N.I. The act would be annoyed.”

Appellate Court Has Power To Direct Deposit Of Minimum 20% Fine/Compensation Awarded By Trial Court
Another competition made earlier than the bench was that, as consistent with Section 357(2) of the Cr.P.C., no such great is payable until the attraction’s selection. Therefore the first appellate Court ought no longer have handed an order directing the appellants to deposit 25% of the quantity of first-rate/compensation, pending enchantment/s. Reliance changed into position on the judgment in Dilip S. Dhanukar v. Kotak Mahindra Bank. Rejecting this plea, the bench said:

“The starting word of amended Section 148 of the N.I. The act is that “however something contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure.” Therefore no matter the provisions of Section 357(2) of the Cr.P.C., pending enchantment earlier than the primary appellate courtroom, hard the order of conviction and sentence beneath Section 138 of the N.I. Act, the appellate court docket is conferred with the energy to direct the appellant to deposit such sum pending enchantment which will be no less than 20% of the fine or compensation provided by the trial Court.” Not To Direct To Deposit By The Appellate Court Is An Exception For Which Special Reasons Are To Be.

Assigned

Yet another contention raised in this situation became primarily based on the phrase ‘may’ used in Section 148 of the N.I. Act. The provisions state that ‘the appellate Court “might also” order the appellant to deposit such sum which will be at least 20% of the first-rate or repayment provided by using the trial Court”. It turned into contended that since the phrase used isn’t always “shall,” the discretion is vested with the first appellate court docket to direct the appellant-accused to deposit such sum. The appellate courtroom has construed it as obligatory and could be contrary to Section 148 of the N.I. Act as amended. The bench discovered:

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