Justice J.S Khehar and Justice M. Yusuf Iqbal
What are the principles governing the right to appeal in regards to the amendment in procedural law?
SEBI filed an appeal in the High Court against the orders passed by Securities Appellate Tribunal. The issue before the HC was to determine whether the amended Section 15Z of SEBI Act is going to operate prospectively or retrospectively.
The issue was also the maintainability of the appeal in HC after the said amendment.
The HC held that the petitions filed before the amendment can be appealed in HC & petitions after the amendment cannot be appealed in HC.
Aggrieved by the decision, the appellant filed the present appeal in SC.
· It was contended that the said amendment would be retrospective & therefore the orders given by HC in appeal is not maintainable. Only the new forum formed by the amendment can entertain the cases filed under the Act.
· It was submitted that the amendment cannot take away the right of the aggrieved party to appeal in High Court by creation of a new forum.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the right of the board to appeal in High Court as the right to appeal was available to the respondent at the time of initiation of the dispute before the amendment which wasn’t preserved thereof.
“What falls within the parameters of the package at the initial stage of the lis or dispute, constitutes the vested substantive right of the litigant concerned. An aggrieved party, is entitled to pursue such a vested substantive right, as and when, an adverse judgment or order is passed. Such a vested substantive right can be taken away by an amendment, only when the amended provision, expressly or by necessary intendment, so provides. Failing which, such a vested substantive right can be availed of, irrespective of the law which prevails, at the date when the order impugned is passed, or the date when the appeal is preferred. For, it has repeatedly been declared by this Court, that the legal pursuit of a remedy, suit, appeal and second appeal, are steps in a singular proceeding. All these steps, are connected by an intrinsic unity, and are regarded as one legal proceeding. ”
-Para 39 (Videocon International Ltd. v. Securities & Exchange Board of India)<