SC: Period Of “limitation” To Apply From Date Of Filing A Complaint

Here is the article from Indian Express. I believe this is useful in quashing cases. I am not sure what this means completely with regard to 498A.

An Excerpt:

“A bench of Justices C K Thakker and Tarun Chatterjee said it was overruling all previous decisions of the courts in the country including certain rulings of the apex court that the “limitation” period would commence from the date when a magistrate takes cognisance of a complaint. The apex court said that quashing complaints on account of the delay caused by courts would be violation of Article 14 (Equality before Law) as the complainant cannot be faulted for the delay. “The provision of law (468 CrPC) 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,” the bench observed under section 468 of the CrPC, courts in the country are barred from taking cognisance of a complaint after the period of “limitation”.”

Here is another explanation:

“The Supreme Court has held that a litigant cannot be penalised or punished for the omission, default or inaction on the part of a court or a magistrate.

A bench comprising Justices CK Thakkar and Tarun Chatterjee, while allowing the appeal of a Japani Sahoo against the Orissa High Court judgement, dated June 20,2006, dropping criminal proceedings against a policeman, Chandrashekhar Mohanti, for demanding Rs 5000 per month as illegal gratification from Sahoo, observed, “A complainant is not responsible for any delay on the part of the court or magistrate in issuing process or taking cognisance of an offence if that action of initiation of proceedings has been taken within the period of limitation. Now, if he is sought to be penalised because of the omission, default or inaction on the part of the court or magistrate, the provision of law may have to be treated on the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution.” The Court also noticed, “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 sustain the validity of law by applying the doctrine of reasonable construction. Connecting the provision of limitation in Section 468 CrPC with issuing of process or taking of cognisance by the court may make it unsustainable and ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution.” “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 procedings and not the date of taking cognisance by a magistrate or issuals 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 cognisance by the magistrate/court and not of filing of complaint or initiation of criminal procedings,” the court added.

The court also directed the trial court to proceed with the case as expeditiously as possible.”

Here is the judgment (pdf): SC Judgement On Period Of Limitation For Quash

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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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Disclaimer:

The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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