Supreme Court declared that, Limitation u/s 468 starts from the date of making the complaint and not on the date the cognizance was taken.
52. The matter can be looked at from different angle also. Once it is accepted (and there is no dispute about it) that it is not within the domain of the complainant or prosecuting agency to take cognizance of an offence or to issue process and the only thing the former can do is to file a complaint or initiate proceedings in accordance with law. If that action of initiation of proceedings has been taken within the period of limitation, the complainant is not responsible for any delay on the part of the Court or Magistrate in issuing process or taking cognizance of an offence. Now, if he is sought to be penalized because of the omission, default or inaction on the part of the Court or Magistrate, the provision of law may have to be tested on the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution. It can possibly be urged that such a provision is totally arbitrary, irrational and unreasonable. It is settled law that a Court of Law would interpret a provision which would help sustaining the validity of law by applying the doctrine of reasonable construction rather than making it vulnerable and unconstitutional by adopting rule of ‘litera legis’. Connecting the provision of limitation in Section 468 of the Code with issuing of process or taking of cognizance by the Court may make it unsustainable and ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution.
Japani Sahoo Vs Chandra Sekhar Mohanty on 27 Jul 2007
53. In view of the above, we hold that for the purpose of computing the period of limitation, the relevant date must be considered as the date of filing of complaint or initiating criminal proceedings and not the date of taking cognizance by a Magistrate or issuance of process by a Court. We, therefore, overrule all decisions in which it has been held that the crucial date for computing the period of limitation is taking of cognizance by the Magistrate/Court and not of filing of complaint or initiation of criminal proceedings.
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