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Report No. 60

7.4. Effect of repeal and effect of expiry.-

If the effect of the repeal of a statute (without a savings clause) was to obliterate the repealed statute as completely from the records of Parliament as if it had never been passed,1 the effect of expiry of a temporary statute also could not, in principle, be in any way different. The decided authorities2 show that the general rule in regard to the expiration of a temporary statute is that (unless the statute contains some special provision to the contrary), after a temporary Act has expired, no proceedings can be taken upon it and it ceases to have any further effect.

Therefore, offences committed against temporary Acts must be prosecuted and punished before the Act expires, and as soon as the Act expires, any proceedings which are being taken against a person will ipso facto terminate. In one judgment3 of the Supreme Court, the repeal of a perpetual statute is almost equated with the expiry of a temporary statute. It is observed, "when a statute is repealed or comes to an end by efflux of time, no prosecution for acts done during the continuance of the repealed or expired Act can be commenced after the date of its repeal or expiry, because that would amount to the enforcement of a repealed or dead Act.".

1. Para. 7.3, supra.

2. (a) AIR 1947 FC 38 (44).

(b) AIR 1959 SC 609 (610).

3. AIR 1954 SC 683 (685).

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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