Limitation under CrPC not applicable to DV cases: HC - Hindustan Times

Limitation under CrPC not applicable to DV cases: HC

ByKanchan Chaudhari
Feb 05, 2020 05:49 PM IST

In a significant ruling, the Bombay high court (HC) recently held that reliefs sought under provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, cannot be equated with registration of an offence, and so, limitations prescribed under section 468 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for taking cognisance of an offence are not applicable to complaints under the Act.

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Section 468 (2) allows courts to take cognisance of offences that are punishable by fine only up till six months after the alleged incident. The section prescribes limitation of one year, if the offence is punishable by imprisonment up to one year, and three years for offences punishable by imprisonment from one to three years. There is no limitation for taking cognisance of other, more serious offences.

“Section 468 of CrPC has no application so far as proceedings under section 12 of the DV Act are concerned,” said Justice AM Badar, rejecting an IPS officer’s 2014 petition, seeking that the proceedings initiated against him by his estranged wife under the DV Act be quashed on the grounds that the purported incidents of domestic violence took place in April 2008, while her application was filed in September 2013. Justice Badar said section 12 of the DV Act enables the aggrieved women to file applications to seek reliefs provided under sections 18 to 22, for instance, protection or residence order or monetary relief. “For all above mentioned reliefs, there is no limitation prescribed under CrPC… These reliefs cannot be equated with offence for which limitation is prescribed by section 468 of CrPC,” said the judge.

The counsel for the petitioner, a 51-year-old Malabar Hill resident, had claimed that the proceeding pending before a judicial magistrate at Pune was not maintainable as it is barred by limitation, as prescribed by section 468 of CrPC. Justice Badar rejected the IPS officer’s argument saying there is “no occasion of taking cognizance of any offence in proceedings under section 12 of DV Act”.

The judge also rejected the officer’s argument that the DV proceeding was liable to be struck down on the ground that it was multiplying proceedings between the estranged spouses. The petitioner’s counsel had argued that the family court has already granted monthly maintenance of 20,000 to the woman and yet another proceeding for the same relief amounts to abuse of the process of court.

The judge, however, said section 36 of the DV Act is very clear. “Provisions of DV Act are in addition to and not in derogation of provisions of any other law,” he said. “Therefore, reliefs provided in the DV Act can certainly be claimed in addition to reliefs availed in other proceedings. Therefore, award of maintenance or some monetary provisions regarding residence in proceedings before the family court cannot prohibit the aggrieved person from claiming reliefs under provisions of the DV Act.”

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