Applicability of Statute of Retrospective Effect
S J Tubrazy
As to the applicability of a statute which is enacted after the coming into existence of the acts or events, the legal effects which are to be determined, the law is not in any doubt. So far as substantive rights of parties to a litigation are concerned, a law which comes into force either during the pendency of the proceedings in a Court or even before the institution of such proceedings, but after the coming into existence of the events, the legal effect of which is to be determined, can have no effect whatsoever on the proceedings except to the extent of the retrospective effect which it may possess expressly or by necessary implication. If a person died before 1948 and he was governed in matters of inheritance by custom, an pct passed in the year 1948 according to which all his property is to descend to his heirs in accordance with Law has obviously no effect whatsoever on the rights of parties even though the litigation began after the new act came into force. When rights once vest in parties they are not affected by any legislation that has merely prospective effect. This is the position so far as substantive rights are concerned. So far as the procedural provisions are concerned the ordinary rule is that Courts continue, to have the jurisdiction which they had at the time when a proceeding was instituted even though that jurisdiction is subsequently taken away, but an interpretation of the new Act may lead to a different result. Even if the appeal was in such a case filed after the coming into force of the new Constitution that would make no difference to the competence of the appeal. Sometimes the jurisdiction of a Court to pass a particular kind of order may be taken away by a new Act so that it can henceforth pass no order of that kind even in a pending proceeding, but this will depend upon the interpretation of the new statute.