SC sets aside HC ruling in Gautam Khaitan case
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and BR Gavai disagreed with the HC view that the law meant to curb the lack money menace cannot be applied retrospectively. The high court has now been directed to decide the matter afresh.Updated: Oct 16, 2019 01:11 IST
The Supreme Court set aside the Delhi High Court’s decision to stay proceedings under the Black Money Act, 2016 against advocate Gautam Khaitan, facing allegations in the Augusta Westland scam, in the process reaffirming the ability of a law to define its retrospective applicability.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and BR Gavai disagreed with the HC view that the law meant to curb the lack money menace cannot be applied retrospectively. The high court has now been directed to decide the matter afresh.
The HC had in May this year put on hold proceedings against Khaitan on the grounds that the provisions of the black money law could not be invoked with retrospective effect . (Specifically, the argument was that the government used a provision of the law that gave it the ability to set a retrospective date for the law’s applicability, but that this provision itself would come into effect only after the law was passed). SC’s Tuesday decision came on the Centre’s appeal against the HC order.
Khatian approached the high court, assailing several sections of the law and also claimed that the government’s notification, declaring the date of enforcement of the Black Money Act as July 1, 2015 was ultra vires of the law itself. He said the act should have been made effective from April 1, 2016. The amendment to make July 1, 2015 as the date of enforcement was done under a section that was not in operation then, he argued.
The court agreed with him.
The Centre appealed to the Supreme Court which set aside the HC’s ruling.
Supreme court advocate Anil Mishra said, “ the Delhi high court order had a bearing on many pending cases of money laundering under the black money act. What has to be understood that most of money laundering offences are continuing in nature and the act, which had the nod of parliament, said the law will come into effect from 2015, in such circumstances the delhi high court order was bound to be revisited.”