A new law ought to regulate what is to follow, not the past.
To understand the meaning of the above legal maxim, it can be said that a new state of the law is supposed to affect the future, not the past. It means that the cardinal principle of construction that every statute is prospective in nature unless it has been stated to have retrospective operation. It implies that except in special cases the new law has been to construed so as to interfere as little as possible with already vested rights. It embodies a particular rule of construction which is valuable only when the words of the Act of the Parliament are not clear and plain. It means that a new law ought to be construed to interfere as little as possible with vested rights.
In the case of Vallabhaneni Lakshmana Swamy and others vs. Valluru Basavaiah and others, the principle of Nova Consititutio Futuris Formmam Imponere Debt, Non-Praeteritis was applied and it was held by the Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh court that it is a cardinal principle of construction that every statute prima facie perspective, unless expressly or by necessary implication has been made to operate with retrospective effect. The rule, in general, is to impose new burdens to the impair existing obligations.
In the case of Secretary Shivdatt education trust and another vs. Ramlochan Rajbali Patel and others, it was stated by the Hon’ble court that unless there are words in the statute sufficient to show the intention of the Legislature to affect existing rights. It is deemed to be prospective as per the principle of Nova Consititutio Futuris Formmam Imponere Debt, Non-Praeteritis- a new law ought to be regulated what to follow, not the past.
This maxim has been written and submitted by Ms. Arushi Lamba during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Ms. Arushi is a 4th-year law student of Panjab University, Chandigarh.