Report No. 73
2.5A. Time limit for prosecution.-
We now turn to the question of the time limit within which a prosecution can be instituted under the proposed new penal provision1. In order to avoid harassment to the husband, it is, in our view, desirable that criminal proceedings under the proposed section should not be taken after the expiry of one year from the date of the default. By way of an analogous provision, we may refer to section 125(3), proviso, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which enacts that a warrant cannot be issued for the recovery of any amount due under that section unless an application is made to the court to levy such amount within a period of one year from the date on which it became due.
It may be mentioned that as regards offences under the Penal Code, the matter seems to be covered by the provisions relating to limitation in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, there is a bar to taking cognizance of certain offences after lapse of the period of limitation. The section is quoted below:-
"468. (1) Except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this Code, no Court shall take cognizance of an offence of the category specified in sub¬section (2), after the expiry of the period of limitation.
(2) The period of limitation shall be-
(a) six months, if the offence is punishable with fine only;
(b) one year, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year;
(c) three years, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years.2"
Section 469 deals with the commencement of the period of limitation in these terms:-
"469. (1) The period of limitation, in relation to an offender, shall commence-
(a) on the date of the offence; or
(b) where the commission of the offence was not known to the person aggrieved by the offence or to any police officer, the first day on which such offence comes to the knowledge of such person or to any police officer, whichever is earlier; or
(c) where it is not known by whom the offence was committed, the first day on which the identity of the offender is known to the person aggrieved by the offence or to the police officer making investigation into the offence, whichever is earlier.
(2) In computing the said period, the day from which such period is to be computed shall be excluded."
We are of the view that for the purposes of the application of section 469 in relation to an offence under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the date of default in making the payment under the decree or order should be deemed to be the date of the offence.
1. Para. 1.11, supra.
2. For the commencement of the period, see sections 469-472, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.