Haru Das Gupta Vs. State of West
Bengal  INSC 39 (1 February 1972)
KHANNA, HANS RAJ
CITATION: 1972 AIR 1293 1972 SCR (3) 329 1972
SCC (1) 639
F 1990 SC 487 (12)
West Bengal (Prevention of Violent Activities)
Act, (President's Act 19 of 1970), ss. 12 and 13-Period of three months from
the date ofdetention-Method of computation.
The petitioner was arrested and detained on
February 5, 1971 under' s. 3 of the West Bengal (Prevention of Violent Activities)
Act, 1970. After receipt of the report of the Advisory Board, the St-ate
Government confirmed the detention order on May 5, 1971.
On the question whether the confirmation was
made one day after the expiration of the period of 3 months from the date of
HELD : The effect of defining a period from
such a day until such a day within which an act is to be done is to exclude the
first day and to include the last day; and therefore, in the present case, the
order of confirmation was made before the expiration of the period of three
month& from the date of detention. [331 E-F] Young v. Higgon, 6 M & W
50 151 E.R. (Ex.) 317, Radcliffe v.. Bartholomew,  1 Q.B. 161, Williams
v. Burges 10 L.J.0.D. 10, Hardy v. Rlye, 9 B & C 603, English v. Cliff,
 2 Ch. 376, Goldsmiths Co. v. West Metropolitan Rly. Co.  1 K.B.
15, Cartwright v., MacCormac,  1 All E.R. 11, 13, Marren v. Dawson
Bentley & Co..' Ltd.,  2 Q.B. 135, Stewart v. Chanman, . 2 K.B.
792, In re.:
North, Ex parte Hasluck,  2 Q.B. 264
and Halsbury's Laws of Eng-land 3rd ed. Vol. 37, pp. 92 and 95) refererd to.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petition No. 287
Under article 32 of the Constitution of India
for a writ in thenature or habeas corpus.
N. N. Goswami, for the petitioner.
D. N. Mukherjee, Sukumar Basu and G. S.
Chatterjee, for the respondent.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Shelat, J. The petitioner was arrested and detained on, February 5, 1971 in
pursuance of an order of detention passed on that very day by the District
Magistrate, 24 Parganas under sec. 3(1) and (3) of the West Bengal (Prevention
of Violent Activities), Act, President's Act 19 of 1970.
There is no dispute that, as required by the
Act, his case was referred to the Advisory Board and on receipt of its report
that 330 there was sufficient cause for his detention, the State Government
under sec. 12 of the Act made an order or decision confirming .,the said
detention order and continuing his detention there under. The order of
confirmation and continuation was made on May 5, 1971.
The only contention raised in this petition
was that the order or decision of confirmation of the said detention order was
made one day after the expiration of the period of three months from the date
of detention, that the said period of three months would lend on the midnight
of May 4, 1971, and that any confirmation .and continuation of detention made
thereafter would not be valid.
The question is when can the period of three
months from the date of detention be said to have expired. When a period of
time running from a given day or event to another day or event is prescribed by
law or fixed by contract and the question arises whether the computation is to
be made inclusively or exclusively of the first-mentioned or of the
last-mentioned day, regard must be had to the context and to the purpose for
which the computation has to be made.
(Halsbury's Laws of England, (3rd. ed.) vol 3
7, p. 92).
There is, however, a volume of authority in
England showing that where a certain thing has to be done within a specified
period, the day on which the cause of action arose, is to be excluded from
computation and the day on which such action is taken is to be included. As
early as 1840, Parke, B. laid down this rule in Young v. Higgon(1). In
Radcliffe v.Bartholomew (2) Wills, J., relying on Williams v. Burgess(3) and
Hardy v. Ryle (4) held that a complaint under the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act, filed on June 30, in respect of an act alleged to have been committed
on May 30, was "within one calendar month after the cause of such
complaint shall arise". He held so on the principle that the day on which
the cause for the complaint arose had to be excluded while computing the period
within which under the Act the complaint had to be filed. In Williams v.
Burgess, (3) the statute directed warrants of attorney to be filed "within
twenty one days after their execution", and it was held that a warrant
.executed on the 9th day of the month would be regarded as having been filed in
proper time if filed on the 30th, the day of execution being one which had to
be excluded,. On the other hand, in a case where a settler by a settlement,
dated May 13, 1892, conveyed real estate unto and to the use of the trustees
upon trust thereinafter declared and it was thereby declared that they should
,stand possessed of the said premises during the term of twenty one years from
the date thereof upon trust to apply the rents and (1) 6 M & W 50-151
English Reports (Ex) 317.
(2)  1 Q.B. 161.
(3) 10 L.J. Q.B.10.
(4) 9 B & C 603.
331 profits as therein mentioned and it was
further declared that them trustees should at the expiration of the said term
of twenty-one years sell the said premises and pursuant to the said trust for
sale the trustees contracted to sell the real estate on June 20, 1913, it was
held that the term of twenty-one years commenced from the midnight of May 12,
1892, and therefore, the trust was not void for remoteness on the ground of
exceeding a term of twenty one years from its creation. [see English v. Cliff
These decisions show that courts have drawn a
distinction between a term created within which an act may be done and a time
limited for the doing of an act. The rule is well established that where a particular
time is given from a certain date within which an act is to be done, the day on
that date is to be excluded. see Goldsmiths' Company v. The West Metropolitan
Railway Company (2 ) 1. This rule was followed in Cartwright v. MacCormack(3),
where the expression "fifteen days from-the date of commencement of the
policy" in a cover note issued by an insurance company was construed as
excluding the first date and the cover note to commence at midnight of that
day, and also in Marren v.Dawson Bentley & Co. Ltd.,(4) a case for
compensation for injuries received in the course of employment, where for
purposes of computing the period of limitation the date of the accident, being
the date of the cause of action, was excluded. [see also Stewart v. Chanman(5)
and In re North, Ex parte Hasluck(6)]. Thus, as a general rule the effect of
defining a period from such a day until such a day within which an act is to be
done is to exclude the first day and to include the last day. (see Halsbury's
Laws of England, (3rd ed.) vol. 37, pp. 92 and 95) There is no reason why the
aforesaid rule of construction followed consistently and for so long should not
also be applied here.
In computing the period of three months from
the date of detention, which was February 5, 1971, before the expiration of
which the order or decision for confirming the detention order and continuation
of the detention there under had to be made, the date of the commencement of
detention, namely, February 5, 1971, has to be excluded. So done, the order of
confirmation was made before the expiration of the period of three months from
the date of detention.
The contention raised on behalf of the
petitioner, thus, cannot be sustained. Accordingly the writ petition is
V.P.S. Petition dismissed.
(1)  2 Ch 376.
(3)  1 All E.R. 11 at P. 13.
(5)  2 K.B. 792.
(2) (1904) 1 K.B. 1, at p. 5.
(4)  2Q.B. 135.
(6)  2 Q.B. 264.