Relevant Date To Compute Limitation Period U/Sec 468 CrPC Is The Date Of Filing Of Complaint Or Date Of Institution Of Prosecution: Supreme Court

Ashok KM

5 March 2022 10:50 AM GMT

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  • Relevant Date To Compute Limitation Period U/Sec 468 CrPC Is The Date Of Filing Of Complaint Or Date Of Institution Of Prosecution: Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court observed that the relevant date for the purpose of computing the period of limitation under Section 468 CrPC is the date of filing of the complaint or the date of institution of prosecution and not the date on which the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence.Section 468 of the Code of Criminal procedure deals with bar to taking cognizance after lapse of the period...

    The Supreme Court observed that the relevant date for the purpose of computing the period of limitation under Section 468 CrPC is the date of filing of the complaint or the date of institution of prosecution and not the date on which the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence.

    Section 468 of the Code of Criminal procedure deals with bar to taking cognizance after lapse of the period of limitation. It reads as follows:

    1) Except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this Code, no Court shall take cognizance of an offence of the category specified in sub-section (2), after the expiry of the period of limitation.

    (2) The period of limitation shall be—

    (a) six months, if the offence is punishable with fine only;

    (b) one year, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year;

    (c) three years, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years.

    In this case, a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Khachrod was filed on on 10.07.2012 by the defacto complainants claiming that he had entrusted 33.139 Kg of silver to the accused; and on 04.10.2009, on the demand being made, the accused refused to return the same. On the complaint so filed by the appellant, FIR came to be registered and, after investigation, the police filed charge-sheet dated 13.11.2012 for the offences under Section 406 read with Section 34 and Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860  against the accused persons. Thereupon, the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Khachrod took cognizance on 04.12.2012. Allowing the petition filed under Section 482 CrPC, the High Court quashed the criminal proceedings on the ground that taking cognizance of this matter on 04.12.2012 (three years later) was barred by limitation.

    Before the Apex Court bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath, it was contended that the High Court judgment is contrary to the principles laid down by the Constitution bench in Sarah Mathew v. Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases by its director Dr. K.M. Cherian  (2014) 2 SCC 62. Referring to the said judgment, the bench observed:

    "Therefore, the enunciations and declaration of law by the Constitution Bench do not admit of any doubt that for the purpose of computing the period of limitation under Section 468 CrPC, the relevant date is the date of filing of the complaint or the date of institution of prosecution and not the date on which the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence. The High Court has made a fundamental error in assuming that the date of taking cognizance i.e., 04.12.2012 is decisive of the matter, while ignoring the fact that the written complaint was indeed filed by the appellant on 10.07.2012, well within the period of limitation of 3 years with reference to the date of commission of offence i.e., 04.10.2009."

    The bench also rejected the contention raised on behalf of the respondent that Sarah Mathew's case requires reconsideration on the ground that some of the factors related with Chapter XXXVI CrPC have not been considered by the Court. While allowing the appeal, the bench observed.

    "A decision of the Constitution Bench of this Court cannot be questioned on certain suggestions about different interpretation of the provisions under consideration. It remains trite that the binding effect of a decision of this Court does not depend upon whether a particular argument was considered or not, provided the point with reference to which the argument is advanced, was actually decided therein. This is apart from the fact that a bare reading of the decision in Sarah Mathew (supra) would make it clear that every relevant aspect concerning Chapter XXXVI CrPC has been dilated upon by the Constitution Bench in necessary details."

    Headnotes

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 468 - The relevant date is the date of filing of the complaint or the date of institution of prosecution and not the date on which the Magistrate takes cognizance of the offence. [Referred to Sarah Mathew v. Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (2014) 2 SCC 62]

    Precedents - A decision of the Constitution Bench of this Court cannot be questioned on certain suggestions about different interpretation of the provisions under consideration - The binding effect of a decision of the Supreme Court does not depend upon whether a particular argument was considered or not, provided the point with reference to which the argument is advanced, was actually decided therein.

    Summary - Appeal against High Court order setting aside criminal proceedings on the ground that taking cognizance by magistrate was barred by limitation - Allowed - The High Court made a fundamental error in assuming that the date of taking cognizance i.e., 04.12.2012 is decisive of the matter, while ignoring the fact that the written complaint was indeed filed by the appellant on 10.07.2012, well within the period of limitation of 3 years with reference to the date of commission of offence i.e., 04.10.2009 - Rejected the contention that Sarah Mathew's case requires reconsideration on the ground that some of the factors related with Chapter XXXVI CrPC have not been considered.

    Case: Amritlal vs Shantilal Soni | CrA 301 OF 2022 | 28 Feb 2022

    Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 248

    Coram: Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath

     


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