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Report No. 42

24.26. Absence of accused and absconding.-

As illustrations of impediments caused by the conduct of the accused, we may refer to his being out of India, and his absconding or concealing himself. Running of the period of limitation should be excluded in both cases.

24.27. Closure of court.-

Finally, it is necessary to provide for the contingency arising out of the court being closed on a day; and we recommend1 that, where the prescribed period for taking cognizance of an offence expires on a day when the court is closed, the court may take cognizance on the day when the court re-opens)

1. Cf section 4, Limitation Act, 1963.

24.28. Power of Court to condone delay not needed.-

We do not think it necessary to give power to the Court to excuse delay in other cases, like the power conferred on the Court by the Limitation Act, in respect of appeals and application1.

1. Cf. section 5, Limitation Act, 1963.

24.29. No limitation for execution of sentence.-

For the present, we do not recommend any limitation for the execution of sentences, because experience shows that in India there is no undue delay in execution. Even if there is some delay in a few cases due to the accused absconding after jumping bail or otherwise, he cannot take advantage of that delay.

24.30. Recommended sections.-

We recommend that the following Chapter be added to the Penal Code at the end.

Chapter 231

Limitation for Taking Cognizance of Offences

1. This could take the place of existing Chapter 23 (Attempts), as a attempts are proposed to be dealt with in a new Chapter 5B.

"511. Definitions.- For the purposes of this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires.-

(a) 'period of limitation' means the period of limitation for taking cognizance of an offence specified in section 512;

(b) 'prescribed period' means the period of limitation, computed in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

512. Bar to taking cognizance after lapse of time.- (1) Subject to the other provisions of this Chapter, no court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under this Code after the expiry of the prescribed period.

(2) The period of limitation for taking cognizance of an offence shall b.-

(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 not exceeding three years.

513. Commencement of the period of limitation.- (1) The period of limitation commences, in relation to any offender, from the day on which his participation in the offence first come; to the knowledge of a person aggrieved by the offence or of an officer investigating the offence.

(2) In computing the said period the day from which it is to be reckoned shall be excluded.1

514. Exclusion of time in certain cases.- (1) In computing the period of limitation, the time during which any person has been prosecuting with due diligence another prosecution, whether in a court of first instance or in a court of appeal or revision, against the offender, shall be excluded, where the prosecution relates to the same facts and is prosecuted in good faith in a court which, from defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature, is unable to entertain it.2

(2) Where the institution of the prosecution in respect of an offence has been stayed by an injunction or order, then, in computing the period of limitation, the time of the continuance of the injunction or order, the day on which it was issued or made, and the day on which it was withdrawn, shall be excluded.3

(3) Where notice of prosecution for an offence has been given or where for prosecution for an offence the previous consent or sanction of the Government or any other authority is required, in accordance with the requirements of any law for the time being in force, then in computing the period of limitation for taking cognizance of the offence, the period of such notice or, as the case may be, the time required for obtaining such consent or sanction, shall be excluded.

Explanation.- In excluding the time required for obtaining the consent or sanction of the Government or any other authority, the date on which the application was made for obtaining the consent or sanction and the date of receipt of the order of the Government or other authority shall both be counted.4

(4) In computing the period of limitation, the time during which the offende.-

(a) has been absent from India and from the territories outside India under the administration of the Central Government,5 or

(b) has avoided arrest by absconding or concealing himself shall be excluded.6

Explanation.- A court shall be deemed to be closed on any day within the meaning of this section, if during any part of its normal working hours, it remains closed on that day.

516. Continuing offences.-In the case of a continuing offence, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time during which the offence continues."7

1. Cf section 12(1), Limitation Act, 1963.

2. Cf. section 14(1), Limitation Act, 1963.

3. Cf section 15(1), Limitation Act, 1963.

4. Cf section 15(2), Limitation Act, 1963.

5. Cf section 15(5), Limitation Act, 1963.

6. cf.. section 4, Limitation Act, 1963.

7. cf. section 22, Limitation Act, 1963.



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