It was thus held in re Peacock Industries Limited (supra) by the Bombay High Court that the provisions contained under Section 145 of Negotiable Instruments Act do not have prospective effect and must be held to operate retrospectively. The very elaborate and wholesome treatment of the issue would not leave anything for this Court to take a different view but before this Court would enter its respectful agreement to the view expressed by the Bombay High Court, there is to guide an authoritative pronouncement by the Supreme Court in M/s Mandavi Co-op Bank Ltd. v. Nimesh B. Thakore reported in JT 2010(1) SC 259 where in paragraphs-28 & 29 of the report, it has been held thus:
“28. Mr. Ranjit Kumar also made a feeble attempt to contend that the provisions of sections 143 to 147 inserted in the Act with effect from February 6, 2003 would operate prospectively and would not apply to cases that were pending on that date. The High Court has considered the issue in great detail and has rightly taken the view that the provisions of sections 143 to 147 do not take away any substantive rights of the accused. Those provisions are not substantive but procedural in nature and would, therefore, undoubtedly, apply to the cases that were pending on the date the provisions came into force. We are fully in agreement and in order to buttress the view taken by the High Court we will only refer to a decision of this court.
29. In Gurbachan Singh v. Satpal Singh and Ors [JT 1989(4) SC 38:1990 (1) SCC 445], the court was called upon to consider whether section 113A of the Evidence Act that created a presumption as to abetment of a suicide by a married woman would operate retrospectively or prospectively. The court held:
“37. The provisions of the said section do not create any new offence and as such it does not create any substantial right but it is merely a matter of procedure of evidence and as such it is retrospective and will be applicable to this case. It is profitable to refer in this connection to Halsbury’s Laws of England, Fourth Edition, Volume 44 page 570 wherein it has been stated that:
“The general rule is that all statutes, other than those which are merely declaratory or which relate only to matters of procedure or of evidence, are prima facie prospective, and retrospective effect is not to be given to them unless, by express words or necessary implications, it appears that this was the intention of the legislature…”
38. It has also been stated in the said volume of Halsbury’s Laws of England at page 574 that:
“The presumption against retrospection does not apply to legislation concerned merely with matters of procedure or of evidence; on the contrary, provisions of that nature are to be construed as retrospective unless there is a clear indication that such was not the intention of Parliament.””
The decision of their Lordships of Supreme Court in re M/s Mandavi Co-op Bank Ltd (supra) clinches the possible scope for argument, if any, available to Sri Neeraj Pandy, though, in the opinion of this Court, the decision of the Bombay High Court had set the controversy at rest.