A Full Bench of Apex Court (Justice Ravindra Bhat’s name is missing in the judgment PDF), while overruling the decision in Dr.P.Pathmanathan case here, held that, limitation under section 468 CrPC does not apply to DV cases filed under Section 12 of the Act. They are not defined as crimes under the Act.
From Paras 20 and 21,
Kamatchi Vs Lakshmi Narayanan on 13 Apr 2022
20. It is thus clear that the High Court wrongly equated filing of an application under Section 12 of the Act to lodging of a complaint or initiation of prosecution. In our considered view, the High Court was in error in observing that the application under Section 12 of the Act ought to have been filed within a period of one year of the alleged acts of domestic violence.
21. It is, however, true that as noted by the Protection Officer in his Domestic Inspection Report dated 2.08.2018, there appears to be a period of almost 10 years after 16.09.2008, when nothing was alleged by the appellant against the husband. But that is a matter which will certainly be considered by the Magistrate after response is received from the husband and the rival contentions are considered. That is an exercise which has to be undertaken by the Magistrate after considering all the factual aspects presented before him, including whether the allegations constitute a continuing wrong.
22. Lastly, we deal with the submission based on the decision in Adalat Prasad. The ratio in that case applies when a Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence and issues process, in which event instead of going back to the Magistrate, the remedy lies in filing petition under Section 482 of the Code. The scope of notice under Section 12 of the Act is to call for a response from the respondent in terms of the Statute so that after considering rival submissions, appropriate order can be issued. Thus, the matter stands on a different footing and the dictum in Adalat Prasad would not get attracted at a stage when a notice is issued under Section 12 of the Act.
Other Sources :
Earlier decision of Madras High Court here.
Index of DV cases here.