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Section 14 Limitation Act Has No Application In Criminal Proceedings : Chhattisgarh High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
30 Nov 2020 7:15 AM GMT
Section 14 Limitation Act Has No Application In Criminal Proceedings : Chhattisgarh High Court
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The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that the Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 has no application in criminal proceedings.Section 14 provides for exclusion of time spent in proceedings bona fide, in a Court which lacked jurisdiction. The issue in this case was whether in a criminal proceeding, Section 14(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963 would be applicable? In this case, the dismissal...

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The Chhattisgarh High Court has observed that the Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 has no application in criminal proceedings.

Section 14 provides for exclusion of time spent in proceedings bona fide, in a Court which lacked jurisdiction. The issue in this case was whether in a criminal proceeding, Section 14(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963 would be applicable? In this case, the dismissal of complainant's application filed for condonation of delay read with Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 was under challenge.

Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal observed that the applicability of Section 14(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963 is confined to suit and appeal or revision, it cannot be made applicable to criminal proceeding like revision. However, the court noted that Section 470(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides that in computing the period of limitation, the time during which any person has been prosecuting with due diligence another prosecution, whether in a Court of first instance or in a Court of appeal or revision, against the offender, shall be excluded.

Explaining the scope of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, the court observed:

The principle of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 is the protection against the bar of limitation of a person honestly doing his best to get his case tried on the merits, but failing through the Court being unable to give him such a trial. Section 14 provides for exclusion of time spent in proceedings bona fide, in a Court which lacked jurisdiction. The aims and objectives of the said provision are to afford protection against the bar of limitation to a litigant who was honestly prosecuting the lis before a Court which had no jurisdiction to grant the relief prayed for. The principle underlying the said provision is that limitation will remain in suspense while the litigant was bona fide prosecuting for his rights in a Court of justice due to wrong advice. Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 contains a general principle based on justice, equity and good conscience and the said principle should be applied without strict regard to the period of limitation prescribed. A person prosecuting under a mistake of law is entitled to the benefit of Section 14 whereas while dealing with a petition filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, a Court has to be satisfied that there was reasonable ground for approaching the Court late and that each day of delay is more or less explained. Thus, exclusion of time under Section 14 of the Limitation Act is mandatory once the conditions precedent prescribed in Section 14(1) are satisfied, whereas the Court's power under Section 5 of the Limitation Act is discretionary. Section 14(1) has been made applicable to any suit and "suit" has been defined in Section 2(l) of the Limitation Act, 1963 and it does not include an appeal or an application.

The court noted that the Supreme Court in the matter of J. Kumaradasan Nair and others v. IRIC Sohan   has held that principle thereof would be applicable for the purpose of condonation of delay in filing revision application in terms of Section 5 thereof. The bench observed:

"Section 14(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963, as noticed hereinabove, is only applicable to suits and by virtue of the principle of law laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in J. Kumaradasan Nair (supra), it has been made applicable to revision or appeal arising out of the said proceeding, but its application is restricted only to civil proceeding, it does not apply to the criminal proceeding stretching beyond the civil proceeding and by virtue of Section 14(1), appeal or revision (civil), by virtue of the decision of the Supreme Court in J. Kumaradasan Nair (supra), it would be stretching too much to hold that it should also be applicable in criminal proceeding."

The court therefore held that the petitioners have failed to demonstrate any sufficient reason for delay of two years in questioning the order of discharge and thus the revisional Court is absolutely justified in dismissing the revision petition.


Case: Radhe Shyam Khemka (dead) vs.. Raju Yadav alias Ram Kumar [Criminal Misc. Petition No.744 of 2014]

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