A Division Bench of the Apex Court quash the complaint case filed against the appellants and while doing to enunciated and reiterated lot of legal principles supported by case laws.
From Para 6,
LIMITATION IN CRIMINAL CASES- Section 468 Cr.P.C.:
6. Section 468 Cr.P.C. places an embargo upon court from taking cognizance of an offence after the expiry of the limitation period provided therein. Section 469 prescribes when the period of limitation begins. Section 473 enables the court to condone delay, provided that the court is satisfied with the explanation furnished by the prosecution/complainant, and where, in the interests of justice, extension of the period of limitation is called for. The principle of condonation of delay is based on the general rule of the criminal justice system which states that a crime never dies, as has been
explained by way of the legal maxim, nullum tempus aut locus occurrit regi (lapse of time is no bar to the Crown for the purpose of it initiating proceeding against offenders). A criminal offence is considered as a wrong against the State and also the society as a whole, even though the same has been committed against an individual.
From Para 7, regd delay in registering a complaint
7. The question of delay in launching a criminal prosecution may be a circumstance to be taken into consideration while arriving at a final decision, however, the same may not itself be a ground for dismissing the complaint at the threshold. Moreover, the issue of limitation must be examined in light of the gravity of the charge in question.
From Para 8, regd while condoning delay has to record the reasons
8. The court, while condoning delay has to record the reasons for its satisfaction, and the same must be manifest in the order of the court itself. The court is further required to state in its conclusion, while condoning such delay, that such condonation is required in the interest of justice.
From Para 10,
10. Section 472 Cr.P.C. provides that in case of a continuing offence, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time period during which the offence continues. The expression, ‘continuing offence’ has not been defined in the Cr.P.C. because it is one of those expressions which does not have a fixed connotation, and therefore, the formula of universal application cannot be formulated in this respect.
From Para 16,
16. Thus, in view of the above, the law on the issue can be summarised to the effect that, in the case of a continuing offence, the ingredients of the offence continue, i.e., endure even after the period of consummation, whereas in an instantaneous offence, the offence takes place once and for all i.e. when the same actually takes place. In such cases, there is no continuing offence, even though the damage resulting from the injury may itself continue.
SECOND COMPLAINT ON SAME FACTS-MAINTAINABILITY:
17. While considering the issue at hand in Shiv Shankar Singh v. State of Bihar & Anr., (2012) 1 SCC 130, this Court, after considering its earlier judgments in Pramatha Nath Talukdar v. Saroj Ranjan Sarkar AIR 1962 SC 876; Jatinder Singh & Ors. v. Ranjit Kaur AIR 2001 SC 784; Mahesh Chand v. B. Janardhan Reddy & Anr., AIR 2003 SC 702; Poonam Chand Jain & Anr. v. Fazru AIR 2005 SC 38 held:
“It is evident that the law does not prohibit filing or entertaining of the second complaint even on the same facts provided the earlier complaint has been decided on the basis of insufficient material or the order has been passed without understanding the nature of the complaint or the complete facts could not be placed before the court or where the complainant came to know certain facts after disposal of the first complaint which could have tilted the balance in his favour. However, second complaint would not be maintainable wherein the earlier complaint has been disposed of on full consideration of the case of the complainant on merit.”
From Para 28,
28. Approaching the court at a belated stage for a rightful cause, or even for the violation of the fundamental rights, has always been considered as a good ground for its rejection at the threshold. The ground taken by the learned counsel for respondent No. 2 that the cause of action arose on 20.10.2009 and 5.11.2009, as the appellants refused to return money and other materials, articles and record, does not have substance worth consideration. In case a representation is made by the person aggrieved and the same is rejected by the competent statutory authority, and such an order is communicated to the person aggrieved, making repeated representations will not enable the party to explain the delay.
Citations : [2013 SCALE 1 212], [2013 JT 1 539], [2013 JCC SC 1 711], [2013 SCC 2 435], [2013 SUPREME 1 590], [2013 AIOL 18], [2013 SLT 1 249], [2013 CRIMES SC 1 231], [2013 SCC CIV 1 1121], [2013 SCC CRI 2 708], [2013 SCC ONLINE SC 41], [2013 AIC 123 137], [2013 UC 1 449], [2013 ACR 1 689], [2013 BLJ 3 28], [2013 NCC 1 549], [2013 AD SC 1 537], [2013 JLJR 1 235], [2013 RCR CRIMINAL 2 503], [2013 SCR 3 935], [2013 MLJ CRI 1 462], [2013 JCC 1 711], [2013 MLJ CRL 1 462], [2013 JT SC 1 539]
Other Sources :
The High Court judgment is here.