Supreme Court held that,
6. At times it has come to our notice that many courts are treating the provisions of Section 468 and Section 473 of the Code as provisions parallel to the periods of limitation provided in the Limitation Act and the requirement of satisfying the court that there was sufficient cause for condonation of delay under Section 5 of that Act. There is a basic difference between Section 5 of the Limitation Act and Section 473 of the Code. For exercise of power under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, the onus is on the appellant or the applicant to satisfy the court that there was sufficient cause for condonation of the delay, whereas Section 473 enjoins a duty on the court to examine not only whether such delay has been explained but as to whether it is the requirement of the justice to condone or ignore such delay. As such, whenever the bar of Section 468 is applicable, the court has to apply its mind on the question, whether it is necessary to condone such delay in the interests of justice. While examining the question as to whether it is necessary to condone the delay in the interest of justice, the Court has to take note of the nature of offence, the class to which the victim belongs, including the background of the victim. If the power under section 473 of the code is to be exercised in the interests of justice, then while considering the grievance by a lady, of torture, cruelty and inhuman treatment, by the husband and the relatives of the husband, the interest of justice requires a deeper examination of such grievances, instead of applying the rule of limitation and saying that with lapse of time the cause of action itself has come to an end. The general rule of limitation is based on the Latin maxim : vigilantibus, et non, dormientibus, jura subveniunt (the vigilant, and not the sleepy, are assisted by the laws). That maxim cannot be applied in connection with offences relating to cruelty against women.
7. It is true that the object of introducing Section 468 was to put a bar of limitation on prosecutions and to prevent the parties from filing cases after a long time, as it was thought proper that after a long lapse of time, launching of prosecution may be vexatious, because by that time even the evidence may disappear. This aspect has been mentioned in the statement and object, for introducing a period of limitation, as well as by this Court in the case of State Of Punjab v. Sarwan Singh 1981 3 SCC 34. But, that consideration cannot be extended to matrimonial offences, where the allegations are of cruelty, torture and assault by the husband or other members of the family to the complainant. It is a matter of common experience that victim is subjected to such cruelty repeatedly and it is more or less like a continuing offence. It is only as a last resort that a wife openly comes before a court to unfold and relate the day-to-day torture and cruelty faced by her, inside the house, which many of such victims do not like to be made public. As such, courts while considering the question of limitation for an offence under Section 498-A i.e subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or the relative of her husband, should judge that question, in the light of section 473 of the code, which requires the Court, not only to examine as to whether the delay has been properly explained, but as to whether “it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice”.
Vanka Radhamanohari Vs Vanka Venkata Reddy And Ors on 20 April 1993
Citations: [1993 (2) BLJR 875], [1993 (2) Crimes 275 SC], [I (1994) DMC 172 SC], [JT 1993 (4) SC 17], [1993 (2) SCALE 570], [(1993) 3 SCC 4]
Other Source links: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/849288/ or https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5609ac8ce4b014971140f1d2