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Is there any Limitation Period for filing a Complaint Under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
LUCKNOW BENCH, LUCKNOW.

Reference in re :Case :- MISC. SINGLE No. – 4177 of 2012

Trilochan Singh …..Petitioner.

Versus.

1. Manpreet Kaur
2. State of U.P. …..Respondents.
Counsel for Petitioner :- Shri Niteesh Kumar, Advocate
Counsel for Respondent :- i. Shri S.N.Tilhari, Additional Government Advocate.
ii. Shri Sumit K. Srivastava, Advocate.

Hon’ble Ramesh Sinha,J.
Hon’ble Mrs. Saroj Yadav,J.
( Per Saroj Yadav,J for the Bench)

1. This reference before us arises out of a situation where the learned Single Judge found himself skeptical to accept the view taken by the two learned Single Judges of this court in Akhilesh Kumar Singh and another Vs. State of U.P. and another in Criminal Revision No.885 of 2015 and Santosh Kumar Yadav and five others Vs. State of U.P. and another : 2015 (9 ) ADJ 400 wherein it was held that in absence of specific limitation being provided for filing complaint under Section 12 of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ( in short ‘D.V. Act’), a complaint can be filed at any point of time.

2. What prompted learned Single Judge to feel unconvinced with the principle of law laid down by two learned Single Judges of this court is that the learned Single Judge felt that the views expressed by the two learned Single Judges of this court are not in consoance with the views expressed by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the two judgements i.e. (i) Inderjit Singh Grewal Vs. State of Punjab and another : (2011) 12 SCC 588 ; and (ii) Krishna Bhattacharjee Vs. Sarathi Choudhury and another : (2016) 2 SCC 705.

3. The questions referred by learned Single Judge are as under :-

“(i). Whether the provisions of Section 468 of the ‘Cr.P.C.’ are applicable for filing complaint under Section 12 of the Act as seems to have been held by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid- mentioned two cases ?ÿ(ii). Whether a complaint filed under Section 12 of the Act having civil consequences and, therefore, in absence of specific period of limitation being provided, the complaint should be filed within a period of three years from the date of cause of action or whether it can be filed at any point in time?”

4. Heard Shri Niteesh Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioner, Shri Sumit K. Srivastava, assisted with Shri Prashant Kumar Singh, learned counsel for respondent no.1 and Shri Shiv Nath Tilhari, learned A.G.A. for the respondent no.2.

5. Shri Niteesh Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioner argued that Section 28 of the D.V. Act provides that all proceedings under Sections 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 shall be governed by the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘Cr.P.C.’), hence it is clear that Cr.P.C. is applicable. He also argued that Rule 12 of ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Rules, 2006’ ( in short ‘D.V. Rules’) provides for service of notice adopting the procedure either provided in Order V of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 ( in short ‘C.P.C.’) or provided under Chapter VI of Cr.P.C., hence it denotes that this legislation is quasi civil and quasi criminal, in nature. Section 29 provides limitation of 30 days for filing of appeal against order passed under the Act, whereas no limitation has been prescribed for filing of ‘application’ under Section 12 of the D.V.Act. So in such a situation, limitation shall take effect in accordance with Article 137 provided in the Schedule of the Limitation Act. He also argued that where the act of domestic violence is in the nature of offence, Section 468 Cr.P.C. shall apply.

6. Learned counsel for the petitioner has relied on the following case laws :-

(a). Manish Kumar Soni and others Vs. State of Bihar and another : 2016 SCC Online Pat 8220.

(b). Rajendran Vs. Meenakshi Order dated 27.6.2018 passed in R.C.No.333 of 2011 by Madras High Court.

7. On the other hand, Shri Shiv Nath Tilhari, learned A.G.A. and Shri Sumit Kumar Srivastava, assisted by Shri Prashant Kumar Singh, learned counsel for respondent no.1 argued that Section 28 (1) of the D.V.Act provides that provisions of Cr.P.C. shall apply and section 28(2) says that the court may develop its own procedure for disposal of an application moved under sub Section 12, and sub section (2) of Section 23 of the D.V. Act, hence the Limitation Act shall not apply.

8. They further argued that even Section 468 of Cr.P.C. also, shall not apply because that relates to taking of cognizance of offences and no act of domestic violence for which relief is provided under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the D.V.Act has been made punishable as an offence under the D.V.Act. The applications are dealt with to provide remedies of civil nature, hence the act is remedial in nature. They also argued that as far as the case law of Inderjit Singh Grewal (supra) is concerned, in that case, Hon’ble Apex Court has not considered and discussed the point of limitation and it was allowed on the basis of factual matrix of the case i.e. the decree of divorce already granted on the basis of mutual consent was challenged as fraudulent act of the parties.

9. They further submitted that in Krishna Bhattachrjee’s case (supra) also the Hon’ble Apex Court did not consider the application of Section 468 Cr.P.C. or application of Limitation Act to the proceedings. The Hon’ble Apex Court treated the offence as ‘continuing offence’ (for return of stridhan) and dismissed the petition of the husband petitioner who challenged the same taking the plea that claim is time barred.

10. Learned A.G.A. further argued that the D.V. Act is a beneficial legislation, applications filed under this Act cannot be flouted on technical ground or to say on the point of limitation.

11. Learned counsel for the opposite parties and learned A.G.A. relied upon the following case laws :- (1). Kunapareddy Vs.Kunapareddy Swarna Kumari and another reported in (2016) 11 SCC 774.

(2). V.D. Bhanot Vs. Savita Bhanot reported in (2012) 3 SCC 183.

(3). Preetam Singh and another Vs. State of U.P. and another reported in 2013 (1) Crimes 393 (All).

(4). Santosh Kumar Yadav and others Vs. State of U.P. and another reported in 2015 (9) ADJ 400.

(5). Yogesh Anantrai Bhatt and others Vs. State of Gujarat and others reported in 2016 SCC Online Guj 2398.

(6). Athish Rakesh Agarwaal Vs. Pallavi Rakesh Agarwaal and another reported in 2020 SCC Online Bom 5743.

(7). Shaikh Ishaq Budhanbhai Vs. Shayeen Ishaq Shaikh and others reported in 2012 SCC Online Bom 1150.

(8). Sau Aruna Vs. Omprakash Devanand Shukla and others reported in 2021 SCC Online Bom 1292.

(9). Alok Vs. Sunita judgement and order dated 17.1.2020 decided by Punjab and Haryana High Court decided on 17.1.2020 passed in Crm. M No.29008 of 2014.

(10). Suraj Subash Tendulkar Vs. Mrs. Sangeeta S.Tendulkar, judgement and order dated 12.10.2020 passed by High court of Bombay in LD-VCCRI No.40 of 2020.

(11). Sri Puttaraju Vs. Smt. Shivakumari, Judgement dated 1.4.2021 passed by Karnataka High Court in Crl. Revision Petition No.730 of 2019.

(12).Vikas and others Vs. Smt. Usha Rani and another decided on 17.4.2018 by Punjab and Haryana High Court passed in Criminal Revision No.3084 (O&M) of 2016.

(13). Nandkishor Prahlad Vyawhare Vs. Mangala : 2018 Crl. L.J. 2992.

12. Considered the rival submissions and gone through the cited case laws as well as the provisions of D.V.Act and Chapter XXXVI of of Cr.P.C. (Section 467 to 473 ) and Limitation Act, 1963.

Nature of D.V.Act
13. First of all, we have to consider the object of
legislation for which D.V. Act has been enacted.
14. The main objective of the D.V. Act is to bestow
effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed
under the Constitution of India, who are the victims of
violence of any kind, happening within the family and the
incidental thereto. The ‘Statement of objects and reasons
of the D.V. Act’ is as under :-
“Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights
issue and serious deterrent to development. The
Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and
the Platform for Action (1995) have acknowledged this.
The United Nations Committee on Convention on
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW) in its General Recommendation
No.XII (1989) has recommended that State parties
should act to protect women against violence of any
kind especially that occurring within the family.
2. The phenomenon of domestic violence is widely
prevalent but has remained largely invisible in the
public domain. Presently, where a woman is subjected
to cruelty by her husband or his relatives, it is an
offence under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The civil law does not however address this
phenomenon in its entirety.
3. It is, therefore, proposed to enact a law keeping in
view the rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15
and 21 of the Constitution to provide for a remedy
under the civil law which is intended to protect the
woman from being victims of domestic violence
and to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence
in the society”
14. In the case of Huntington Vs. Attrill 146 US
657, 673-74 (1892) the Supreme Court of United
States observed that whether a statute is remedial or
penal “depends upon the question whether its purpose is

8
to punish the offense against the public justice of the
State or to afford a private remedy to a person injured by
the wrongful act.”0
16. According to ‘Corpus Juris Secundum’
(Encyclopedia of United States Law), a beneficial/
remedial statute “is designed to correct an existing law,
redress an existing grievance, or introduce regulations
conducive to the public good.”
17. In SINGH 2016:629 (6 Singh G.P., “Principle of
Statutory Interpretation” (2016), the observation
of Justice G.P.Singh is : “…….. there are legislations
which are directed to cure some immediate mischief and
bring into effect some type of social reforms by
ameliorating the conditions of certain class of persons
who according to present day notions may not have been
fairly treated in the past. Such legislations prohibit
certain acts by declaring them invalid and provide for
redress or compensation to the persons aggrieved. If a
statute of this nature does not make the offender liable
to any penalty in favour of the State, the legislation will
be classified as remedial. Remedial statutes are also
known as welfare, beneficent or social justice oriented
legislations”.
18. Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Allahabad Bank
Vs. All India Allahabad Bank Retired Employees

9
Association (2010) 2 SCC 44 has highlighted the
distinction between ‘Beneficial’/ ‘Remedial’ statute and
Penal Statute as under :-
“16. ……….. Remedial statutes, in conrtradistinction to
penal statutes, are known as welfare, beneficent or
social justice oriented legislations. Such welfare
statutes always receive a liberal construction. They are
required to be so construed so as to secure the relief
contemplated by the statute……………..”
Thus, ‘Beneficial legislations’ are reformative in
character and ‘Penal Statutes’ are punishment centric
legislation.
19. In Indra Sarma Vs. V.K.V.Sarma : (2013) 15
SCC 755, the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that the
D.V. Act has been enacted to provide a remedy in civil
law for protection of women from being victims of
domestic violence and to prevent occurrence of domestic
violence in the society. The D.V. Act has been enacted
also to provide an effective protection of the rights of the
women guaranteed under the Constitution, who are the
victims of violence of any kind occurring within the
family.
20. In the case of Manish Kumar Soni Vs. State of
Bihar and another (supra) (Cited by learned counsel for
the petitioner), Patna High Court has held as under :-
“All the above remedies envisaged in Sections 17 to 22
are basically civil reliefs. There are only two penal
provisions in the Act i.e. Section 31 which

10
stipulates penalty for breach of protection order by
respondent and Section 33 which stipulates penalty for
not discharging duty by Protection Officer.
Hence, a Magistrate is not required to proceed
which an application is filed under Section 12 of the Act
like a regular complaint under Section 200 or 202 of the
Cr.P.C. though in the present case, the Magistrate has
proceeded on the application under Section 12 of the
Act like a regular complaint but the same has in no way,
prejudiced the petitioners.
Hence, though the provision under Section 28(1),
the Act stipulates that the proceeding under Section 12
of the Act shall be governed by the provisions of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, but the same is directory in
nature and any departure from the provisions of Code of
Criminal Procedure will not vitiate the proceeding
initiated under Section 12 of the Act.”
21. In Hiral P. Harsora and others Vs. Kusum
Narottam Das Harsora and Others : AIR 2016 SC
4774, the Hon’ble Apex Court has discussed the object
of D.V.Act and observed as under :-
“16. A cursory reading of the statement of objects
and reasons makes it clear that the phenomenon of
domestic violence against women is widely prevalent
and needs redressal. Whereas criminal law does offer
some redressal, civil law does not address this
phenomenon in its entirety. The idea therefore is to
provide various innovative remedies in favour of
women who suffer from domestic violence, against the
perpetrators of such violence.
17. The preamble of the statute is again significant. It
states : Preamble “An Act to provide for more effective
protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the
constitution who are victims of violence of any kind
occurring within the family and for matters
connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
18. What is of great significance is that the 2005 Act
is to provide for effective protection of the rights of
women who are victims of violence of any kind
occurring within the family. The preamble also makes it
clear that the reach of the Act is that violence, whether
physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic, are all

11
to be redressed by the statute. That the perpetrators
and abettors of such violence can, in given situations,
be women themselves, is obvious. With this object in
mind, let us now examine the provisions of the
statute itself.”
22. The Hon’ble Apex Court in S.Vanitha Vs. Deputy
Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban District & others :
2020 SCC Online SC 1023, elucidating the nature of
D.V.Act has observed as under :-
“……………….The PWDV Act 2005 was intended to deal
with the problems of domestic violence which, as the
Statements of Objects and Reasons set out, “is widely
prevalent but has remained largely invisible in the
public domain”. The Statements of Objects and
Reasons indicates that while Section 498A of the Indian
Penal Code created a penal offence out of a woman’s
subjection to cruelty by her husband or relative, the
civil law did not address its phenomenon in its entirety.
Hence, consistent with the provisions of Articles 14, 15
and 21 of the Constitution, Parliament enacted a
legislation which would “provide for a remedy under the
civil law which is intended to protect the woman from
being victims of domestic violence and to prevent the
occurrence of domestic violence in the society”……..”
23. In Suraj Subash Tendulkar Vs. Mrs. Sangeeta
S.Tendulkar and another decided on 12.10.2020 by
the Bombay HIgh Court at Goa has concluded as
follows :-
“49. From the above, we can safely conclude that the
Magistrate under the DV Act enjoys procedural freedom.
He may adopt the procedure under the CPC or Cr.PC or
any other procedure “with a view to expediting the
proceedings”.
Conclusion :
(a). The D.V.Act is a civil remedy for the victims
of domestic violence. Only the forum is under
criminal law.

12
(b). The forum has abundant procedural
freedom ; it can follow its own procedure for
disposing applications under section 12 or under
sub-section (2) of section 23.
(c). Once, the court decides to follow its own
procedure under section 12, any discussion on the
procedural limitations under CrPC becomes otiose.
(d). The DV Act is in addition to and not in
derogation of other enactments.
(e). The concepts of issuing process, taking
cognisance, treating the respondents as accused
or suspects do not apply.
(f). Nor should the courts insist on the
respondents’ presence for every adjournment as if
they were accused.
(g). Section 12, until it reaches sub-section (4),
focuses on the reliefs sought and the orders that
may be passed granting those reliefs.
(h). The proviso to sub-section (1) of section 12
governs only that sub-section, not the rest of the
provision.
(h). If a summoned respondent demonstrates
before the court that he has nothing to do with
the allegations in the application, the Magistrate
may close the proceedings against him.
(i). The concepts of discharge, acquittal,
conviction do not apply to the proceedings under
section 12. Nor does the idea of recalling the
process.
(j) Fixing a date for the first hearing cannot be
equated with issuing of process. So relying on the
domestic incident relief or rendering a detailed
‘order’ under section 12(4) is not a condition
precedent for the Magistrate to fix the date of first
hearing.”
24. It is discernible from the ‘Statement of Objects and
Reasons’ of D.V.Act, that the ‘Act’ was enacted to provide
remedies of civil nature to the women who are victims of
domestic violence. In other words, to redress the
grievances of the women-victims of domestic violence
through civil remedies as opposed to penal remedies,
already available under the existing laws.

13
25. The reliefs provided under the D.V. Act are as
under :
(a) Protection order – Section 18 readwith 2 (O)
(b) Residence Order – Section 19 readwith 2 (P)
(c) Monetary reliefs -Section 20 readwith 2(K)
(d) Custody order – Section 21 readwith 2 (D)
(e) Compensation Order-Section 22 readwith
2(C )
26. From a plain reading of these provisions related to
claims/reliefs provided in the D.V. Act, it is clear that
none of them can be treated or construed as an ‘offence’
punishable under the D.V .Act. In other words, no act of
violence has been made punishable under the D.V. Act
except the non compliance under Sections 31 and
‘Penalty for not discharging duty by Protection Officer’
under Section 33 of the D.V. Act. The D.V.Act only
provides the remedies to protect the aggrieved person
from domestic violence. It is evident from the Act that
there is no penal provisions provided in the Act for the
person who committed domestic violence against the
victim/ aggrieved person.
27. What has culled out in nutshell is that the D.V.Act is
a beneficent legislation, remedial in nature which
provides remedies of civil nature.
28. Now keeping in mind the above principles, we
proceed to deal with the questions referred.

14
Question No.-(i).”Whether the provisions of Section 468
of the ‘Cr.P.C.’ are applicable for filing
complaint under Section 12 of the Act
as seems to have been held by the
Supreme Court in the aforesaidmentioned two cases ?”
29. It poses a question whether Section 468 Cr.P.C.
shall be applicable for filing complaint under Section 12
of the D.V.Act especially in the light of principles of law
laid down by Hon’ble Apex Court in the cases of Inderjit
Singh Grewal (supra) and Krishna Bhattachrjee
(supra).
30. As concluded earlier, the D.V.Act is a legislation
which provides remedies of civil nature. The D.V.Act was
passed “in order to provide a remedy in the civil law for
the protection of women for being victims of domestic
violence and to prevent the occurrence of domestic
violence in the society.”
31. Section 12 of the D.V.Act is an enabling Section
which provides for moving an application for the
remedies provided under the Act. Section 12 of the D.V.
Act runs as under :-
“12. Application to Magistrate.—
(1) An aggrieved person or a Protection Officer or
any other person on behalf of the aggrieved
person may present an application to the
Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under this
Act: Provided that before passing any order on
such application, the Magistrate shall take into
consideration any domestic incident report
received by him from the Protection Officer or
the service provider.

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15
(2) The relief sought for under sub-section (1)
may include a relief for issuance of an order for
payment of compensation or damages without
prejudice to the right of such person to institute a
suit for compensation or damages for the injuries
caused by the acts of domestic violence
committed by the respondent: Provided that
where a decree for any amount as compensation
or damages has been passed by any court in
favour of the aggrieved person, the amount, if
any, paid or payable in pursuance of the order
made by the Magistrate under this Act shall be set
off against the amount payable under such decree
and the decree shall, notwithstanding anything
contained in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5
of 1908), or any other law for the time being in
force, be executable for the balance amount, if
any, left after such set off.
(3) Every application under sub-section (1) shall
be in such form and contain such particulars as
may be prescribed or as nearly as possible
thereto.
(4) The Magistrate shall fix the first date of
hearing, which shall not ordinarily be beyond
three days from the date of receipt of the
application by the court.
(5) The Magistrate shall endeavour to dispose of
every application made under sub-section (1)
within a period of sixty days from the date of its
first hearing.”
32. The Magistrate on the application moved under
Section 12 may pass order for protection, order for
residence, order for monetary reliefs, order for custody of
children and order for compensation. Here under
D.V.Act., the relief provided is of remedial nature and not
in a nature of conviction or imposition of penalty. No
order is passed on the application moved to punish the
person who committed domestic violence as there is no

16
such provision under the Act. In other words, no act of
domestic violence has been declared as an offence under
this Act except as provided under Sections 31 and 33 of
the Act.
33. In NOIDA ENTREPRENEURS ASSOCIATION Vs.
NOIDA AND OTHERS : (2011) 6 SCC 508, the
Hon’ble Apex Court has held as under ( relevant
paragraphs 19,20 and 21 ) :
“19. So far as the initiation of criminal proceedings is
concerned, it is governed by the provisions of the Code
of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as
“CrPC”). Section 468 thereof puts an embargo on the
court to take cognizance of an offence after expiry of
limitation provided therein. However, there is no
limitation prescribed for an offence punishable with
more than 3 years’ imprisonment. Section 469 declares
as to when the period of limitation would start.
Sections 470 and 471 provide for exclusion of period of
limitation in certain cases. Section 473 enables the
court to condone the delay provided the court is
satisfied with the explanation furnished by the
prosecution or where the interest of justice demands
extension of the period of limitation.
20. This Court in Japani Sahoo Vs. Chandra Sekhar
Mohanty, dealt with the issue and observed as under :
(SCC p.401, para 14).
“14. The general rule of criminal justice is that ‘a
crime never dies’. The principle is reflected in the
well- known maxim ‘nullum tempus out locus
occurrit regi’ (lapse of time is no bar to Crown in
proceeding against offenders)….. It is settled law
that a criminal offence is considered as a wrong
against the State and the society even though it
has been committed against an individual.
Normally, in serious offences, prosecution is
launched by the State and a court of law has no
power to throw away prosecution solely on the
ground of delay. Mere delay in approaching a
court of law would not by itself afford a ground for
dismissing the case though it may be a relevant
circumstance in reaching a final verdict.

17
The aforesaid judgement was followed by this
court in Sajjan Kumar Vs. CBI.
21. Thus, it is evident that question of delay in
launching criminal prosecution may be a circumstance
to be taken into consideration in arriving at a final
decision, but it cannot itself be a ground for dismissing
the complaint. More so, the issue of limitation has to
be examined in the light of the gravity of the charge.”
34. Now, it appears necessary to go through the
provisions contained in Chapter XXXVI of the Cr.P.C.
Sections 467, 468, 469, 471, 472 and 473 of the Cr.P.C.
read as under :-
“467. Definitions. For the purposes of this Chapter,
unless the context otherwise requires, “period of
limitation” means the period specified in section 468
for taking cognizance of an offence.
468. Bar to taking cognizance after lapse of the period
of limitation.–
(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.
(3) For the purposes of this Section, the period of
limitation in relation to offences which may be
tried together, shall be determined with reference
to the offence which is punishable with the more
severe punishment or, as the case may be, the
most severe punishment.
469. Commencement of the period of limitation.

18
(1) The period of limitation, in relation to an
offence, 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.
470. 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:
Provided that no such exclusion shall be
made unless 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) 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 period 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) Where notice of prosecution for an offence
has been given, or where, under any law for the
time being in force, the previous consent or
sanction of the Government or any other
authority is required for the institution of any

19
prosecution for an offence, than, in computing the
period of limitation, the period of such notice or,
as the case may be, the time required for
obtaining such consent or sanction shall be
excluded.
ExplanationIn computing 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
excluded.
(4) In computing the period of limitation, the
time during which the offender-
(a) has been absent from the India or from
any territory outside India which is under
the administration of the Central
Government, or
(b) has avoided arrest by absconding or
concealing himself, shall be excluded.
471. Exclusion of date on which Court is closed.
Where the period of limitation expires on a day
when the Court is closed, the Court may take
cognizance on the day on which the Court
reopens.
ExplanationA Court shall be deemed to be closed on any day
within the meaning of this section, if, during its
normal working hours, it remains closed on that
day.
472. Continuing offence.
In the case of a continuing offence, a fresh period
of limitation shall begin to run at every moment of
the time during which the offence continues.
473. Extension of period of limitation in certain cases.
Notwithstanding anything contained in the
foregoing provisions of this Chapter, any Court
may make cognizance of an offence after the
expiry of the period of limitations, if it is satisfied
on the facts and in the circumstances of the case

20
that the delay has been properly explained or that
it is necessary so to do in the interests of justice.”
35. Conjoint reading of Sections 467 and 468 Cr.P.C.
shows that the limitation is there for taking cognizance of
offences. The term ‘offence’ has been defined under
Section 40 of the I.P.C., which runs as under :-
“40. “Offence”.—Except in the Chapters and sections
mentioned in clauses 2 and 3 of this section, the word
“offence” denotes a thing made punishable by this
Code.
In Chapter IV, Chapter VA and in the following sections,
namely, sections 64, 65, 66, [67, 71], 109, 110, 112,
114, 115, 116, 117,118, 119, 120, 187, 194, 195,
203, 211, 213, 214, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225,327,
328, 329, 330, 331, 347, 348, 388, 389 and 445, the
word “offence” denotes a thing punishable under this
Code, or under any special or local law as
hereinafter defined.
And in sections 141, 176, 177, 201, 202, 212, 216 and
441, the word “offence” has the same meaning when
the thing punishable under the special or local law is
punishable under such law with imprisonment for a
term of six months or upwards, whether with or without
fine.”
36. The term ‘offence’ has also been defined under the
General Clauses Act, 1897 in Section 3(38) which runs as
under :-
“3(38). “Offence” shall mean any act or omission
made punishable by any law for the time being in
force.”
37. A three Judges’ Bench of Hon’ble Apex Court in S.
Khushboo Vs. Kanniammal and another (2010) 5
SCC 600, has held as under :-
“”Offence” means “an act or instance of offending”:
“commit an illegal act” and “illegal” means, “contrary to

21
or forbidden by law”. “Offence” has to be read and
understood in the context as it has been prescribed
under the provisions of Sections 40, 41 and 42 IPC
which cover the offences punishable under I.P.C. or
under special or local law or as defined under Section
2(n) Cr.P.C. or Section 3(38) of the General Clauses
Act, 1897 (vide Proprietary Articles Trade Association
Vs. Attorney General for Canada AIR 1931 PC 94 ;
Thomas Dana Vs. State of Punjab AIR 1959 SC 375 ;
Jawala Ram and others Vs. The State of Pepsu (now
Punjab) & Ors. AIR 1962 SC 1246 ; and Standard
Chartered Bank & Ors. Vs. Directorate of Enforcement &
Ors. AIR 2006 SC 1301).”
38. Thus, ‘offence’ denotes an act or omission for which
punishment is provided under the law. As we have noted
earlier that no act of domestic violence has been treated
as offence and made punishable under the D.V.Act
(except as provided in Sections 31 & 33), and Section
468 Cr.P.C. applies for taking of cognizance of offences.
39. In Sri Puttaraju Vs. Smt. Shivakumari
(supra), the Karnataka High Court at Bengaluru has held
as under :-
“26. In the judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme
Court referred to above, the interplay of Section
3(38) of the General Clauses Act, Section 31 of the DV
Act and Section 468 of Cr.P.C. had not fallen for
consideration. In view of the later judgement of
the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Krishna
Bhattacharjee’s case referred to supra the
judgements of this court in Srinivas’s case and
Gurudev’s case cannot be followed. Therefore this
court does not find any merit in the contention that the
petition was time barred.”
40. In Yogesh Anant Rai Bhatt Vs. State of
Gujarat (supra), the Gujarat High Court has held as
under :-

22
“13. Therefore, any other decision, even if it is dealing
with the issue of limitation with reference to DV Act, it is
to be clarified that it may be applicable only in case of
proceedings under Section 31 of the DV Act since subsection (1) of Section 31 contemplates punishment in
the event of breach of the order under such Act.
Therefore, provisions of Section 31 of the DV Act do not
come into play till an order in an application under
section 12 is passed and till the same is breached.
Therefore, when the respondent is simply seeking
various reliefs contemplated by the DV Act, unless those
reliefs are granted and only if such order is violated, the
respondent may not have to invoke provisions of section
31 of the DV Act and at that stage only question of
limitation would arise and thereby respondent may not
be entitled to invoke provisions of section 31 of the DV
Act seeking punishment by way of sentencing the
other side for breach of any such order after a period of
one year from the date of violation of any such order.
Practically the provisions of section 31(1) of the DV Act
is similar to the provisions of Section 125(3) of the Code
and, therefore like an application for maintenance under
Section 125 of the Code, it cannot be barred by
limitation and an application under Section 12 of the DV
Act is not subject to limitation as contemplated by the
petitioners.”
41. In Santosh Kumar Yadav and another Vs. State
of Uttar Pradesh : 2015 (9) ADJ 400, the Allahabad
High Court has held as under :-
“6……………Under the circumstances, if the
wife/aggrieved person alleges that she has been
deprived of all or any economic or financial resources to
which she is entitled under the law, it would amount to
an economic abuse within the meaning of the aforesaid
clause. Continued deprivation thereof would give
recurring cause of action and therefore, an application
under Section 12 of the D.V.Act 2005 seeking protection
orders by such an aggrieved person cannot be said to
be barred by limitation. In fact, the Apex Court in the
case of V.D. Bhanot Vs. Savita Bhanot, (2012) 3 SCC
183, had observed that the conduct of the parties even
prior to the coming into force of the D.V.Act, 2005 could
be taken into consideration while passing an order
under Sections 18, 19, 20 thereof. The Apex Court in
that case observed that the High court rightly held that
even if a wife, who had shared a household in the past,
but was no longer doing so when the Act came into
force, would still be entitled to the protection of
the D.V.Act, 2005. Under the circumstances, there
being no limitation provided for filing an application

23
under Section 12 of the D.V.Act, 2005, the
application of the opposite party no.2 seeking various
protection orders on the ground of being deprived of
the benefits of matrimonial home, which she shared
with the applicants till the date she was driven out of
her matrimonial home, as well her Stridhan, cannot be
said to barred by limitation or bad in law.
7. The observations made by the Apex Court in the
case of Inderjit Singh Grewal (supra) would not help the
applicants in any manner inasmuch as they relate to a
complaint under the D.V.Act, 2005, which may be for an
offence punishable under Section 31 of the said Act. An
application under Section 12 of the D.V.Act, 2005 is not
a complaint of any offence, but it is in the form of a
petition for seeking various reliefs available to an
aggrieved person under the said Act, which would be
clear from a bare perusal of the section.”
42. In Athish Rakesh Agarwaal Vs. Pallavi Athish
Agarwal (supra), the Bombay HIgh Court has held as
under :-
“6. Therefore, when there is no penal provision in the
form of Section 12 or Sections 18 to 22 of D.V.Act,
there is no reason to restrict the aggrieved person from
filing such application with reference to period of
limitation prescribed under Section 468 of the Code.”
43. In Shaikh Ishaq Budhanbhai Vs. Shayeen
Ishaq Shaikh and another(supra), the Bombay High
Court has held as under :-
“9. In the instant case, learned Magistrate passed an
interim protection order granting maintenance which by
itself does not constitute an offence. Section 31 of the
Domestic Violence Act makes a breach of protection
order, final or interim, an offence under the said Act.
Issue of the applicability of Section 468 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 prescribing bar to taking
cognizance after the lapse of the period of limitation
prescribed therein would only arise at the time of taking
cognizance of such an offence as spelt out under section
31 of the Domestic Violence Act. On the date of the
alleged desertion of the respondents, there was no
protection order and as such there could be no breach
of it translating the said occurrence into a crime as spelt
out under Section 31 of the said Act. Thus, the

24
application made by the applicant under the Domestic
Violence Act for protection order cannot be viewed as a
complaint of the offence u/s 31 of the Domestic
Violence Act. Submission on behalf of the petitioner
that the present proceedings are hit by Section 468
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is,
therefore, without any merit. Learned Sessions Judge,
Ahmednagar, therefore rightly dismissed such
submission made on behalf of the petitioners by
making pertinent observations at para 22 of the
impugned judgement”.
44. In Sau Aruna Vs. Omprakash Devanand Shukla
and others (supra), Bombay High Court has held as
under :-
“15. In the case of Inderjit Singh Grewal Vs. State of
Punjab (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court was dealing
with a case where the husband and wife were already
divorced in pursuance of a decree of divorce by mutual
consent passed by the competent Court. The
complainant in that case claimed that the decree of
divorce by mutual consent was obtained by fraud by the
husband, in respect of which she had approached the
police for registration of an offence, but the police had
refused to register any criminal case. The complainant
further claimed that she had been living together with
the husband even after divorce and in such a factual
backdrop she had made allegations of harassment and
abuse against the husband. The Hon’lbe Supreme Court
found that in the facts of the said case, initiation of
proceedings by the wife under the D.V.Act amounted to
abuse of the process of law and accordingly, allowed the
appeal of the husband and dismissed the complaint. It
is in this backdrop that the Hon’ble Supreme Court
recorded one of the contentions raised on behalf of the
husband pertaining to limitation and made an
observation that such a contention appeared to be
preponderous, in view of Section 28 and 32 of the
D.V.Act read with rule 15(6) of the aforesaid Rules.
16. It needs to be appreciated whether the said
judgement lays down the proposition that a complaint
under the provisions of D.V.Act can be filed, subject to
limitation of one year, in view of Section 468 of the
Cr.P.C. In this context, another judgement of Hon’ble
Supreme Court becomes relevant, which is delivered in
the case of Krishna Bhattacharjee Vs. Sarathi Choudury,
(2016) 2 SCC 705. In this judgement, the Hon’ble
Supreme Court has taken note of aforesaid earlier
judgement in the case of Inderjit Singh Grewal Vs.

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25
State of Punjab (supra) and thereupon it is found
that while considering complaints under the D.V.Act,
the concept of continuing cause of action needs to be
applied. In the said case, a contention regarding
limitation was raised in the backdrop of prayer of the
aggrieved person (wife) for return of Stridhan.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court after relying upon earlier
judgments, held that a continuing offence is one which
is susceptible of continuance and is distinguishable
from one which is committed once and for all. It
was found that retention of Stridhan by the husband
and his family members was a continuing offence, so
long as it was covered under the expression of
“economic abuse” as defined under Section 3 of
the D.V.Act, pertaining definition of “Domestic
Violence”. On this basis, it was held that the
complaint filed by the wife could not be thrown out on
the ground of limitation, by applying Section 468 of the
Cr.P.C.”
45. In Vikas and others Vs. Smt. Usha Rani and
another (supra), the Punjab and Haryana High Court has
held as under :-
“As already stated, this Court has to answer the
question, whether the complaint is barred by limitation
based upon the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act
and the law, as cited. Section 28 of the Domestic
Violence Act mandates all proceedings under Sections
12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and offences under Section 31
shall be governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Whereas Section 31 provides for penalty of breach of
protection order against the ‘respondent’ and Rule 15 of
the Rules of 2006 provides for procedure under Section
31 of the Domestic Violence Act.
16. An aggrieved person is permitted to present an
application to the Magistrate seeking one or more
reliefs under this Act and the Magistrate shall take into
consideration any domestic incident report received by
him from the Protection Officer also. Section 12 of the
Domestic Violence Act is enabling provision to file an
application, whereas Sections 18 to 22 of the Domestic
Violence Act provide for rights of the aggrieved person
to seek different reliefs like protection, residence,
monetary relief, custody of minor and compensation.
No limitation has been prescribed for seeking any such
relief. Penal provisions under Section 31 of the
Domestic Violence Act would get attracted on a breach
of a protection order. It is only in a situation when

26
there is a breach of any protection order on an
application under Section 12 or any of the reliefs under
Sections 18 to 22 of the Domestic Violence Act, then
and then only, an application under Section 31 of the
Domestic Violence Act is to be filed within one year from
the date of such breach and not thereafter. Therefore,
the court is of the opinion that there is no limitation
prescribed to institute a claim seeking relief under
Sections 17 to 22 of the Domestic Violence Act.”
46. In Akhilesh Kumar Singh and another Vs. State
of U.P. and another (supra), Allahabad High Court
has held as under :-
“At this juncture I would further like to emphasise that
the scope and limit of the revisional court is very
restricted. There is concurrent finding of the trial court
as well as of the appellate court. Both the courts below
had rejected the preliminary objection raised by the
revisionist by a well reasoned and discussed order.
There seems to be no patent illegality or prima facie
infirmity in the order. It is observed that divorce petition
is still pending, interim alimony had been granted under
Section 24 of the 1955 Act and as per the legal
proposition there is no bar for petition under Section 12
of the Act, 2005 for the return of stridhan. Petition
under Section 27 of the Act, 1955 is also pending and
the legal proposition is that there could not be a bar for
a petition under Section 12 of the Act, 2005 as retention
of stridhan is a continuing offence when a wife had
shared a household in the past. Although the Act, 2005
is prospective, but at the same time, law laid down by
the Apex Court is that even she could be entitled to be
protection under the Domestic Violence Act and so far
as applicability of Section 468 Cr.P.C is concerned, the
provision of Section 468 as held by the Hon’ble
Supreme Court comes only when any breach of the
order has been committed by the respondent passed
under the proceeding of Section 12 of the Domestic
Violence Act and the specific provision for the offence
committed under the Domestic Violence Act is an
offence under Section 31 of the Act which is penalty for
breach of protection order by respondent. On the basis
of aforesaid legal proposition, I am of the view that the
orders of the trial court as well as appellate court do not
suffer from any illegality or perversity which require any
interference from this court. So far as the law cited by
the revisionist is concerned, in view of the aforesaid
legal proposition as cited above and the fact and

27
circumstances being the different to the present case, it
is of no help to the revisionist..”
47. In A.C. Deepak Kumar Vs. P. Priyanka : Manu/
Ka/7005/2019, the Karnataka High Court has held as
under :
“11. On going through the aforesaid paragraph the
said offence under the DV Act is considered to be a
‘continuing offence’ and if the said context has been
read alongwith Section 472 of Cr.P.C., so also Sections
28 and 32 of the DV Act, it makes clear that the offence
is considered to be a continuing offence and demands
are made and the applications which are going to be
filed are not barred by limitation and the Court can
grant the maintenance. Learned counsel for the
petitioner-husband has relied upon the decision in the
case of Inderjit Singh Grewal Vs. State of Punjab and
Another (cited supra) wherein at paragraph 32 it has
been observed as under :-
“32. Submissions made by Shri Ranjit Kumar on
the issue of limitation, in view of the provisions of
Section 468 CrPC, that the complaint could be
filed only within a period of one year from the
date of the incident seem to be preponderous in
view of the provisions of Section 28 and 32 of the
2005 Act read with Rule 15(6) of the Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Rules, 2006
which make the provisions of CrPC applicable and
stand fortified by the judgements of this Court in
Japani Sahoo V. Chandra Sekhar Mohanty [MANU/
SC/3080/2007……”
12. As could be seen from the aforesaid paragraph,
the said observations have been made while making
submissions made by the learned counsel no ratio laid
down by the Hon’ble Apex Court. In the case of Krishna
Bhattachrjee Vs. Sarathi Choudhury and Another, (cited
supra) the issue was one and the same and while
dealing with the said matter, a ratio has been laid down
that if it is continuing offence, then under such
circumstances, the court cannot hold that Section 468
of Cr.P.C. is a bar to disclaim the respondent-wife.
Under the said facts and circumstances of the case and
in view of the ratio laid down by the Hon’ble Apex
Court, I am of the considered opinion that the
contention taken up by the learned counsel for the
petitioner that there is a bar under Section 468 of
Cr.P.C. is not having any force, and the same is liable to
be rejected.”

28
48. Against the aforesaid judgement dated 16.9.2019
passed by Karnataka High Court, a special leave petition
Criminal Diary Nos.1341/2020 was filed before the
Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Apex court was pleased
to pass order on 17.6.2020, which runs as under :
” Delay condoned.
In the given facts and circumstances of the
case, we are not inclined to examine the question
of law as sought to be raised by learned counsel for
the petitioner, in exercise of our jurisdiction
under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
The special leave petition is accordingly
dismissed. Pending applications shall also stand
disposed of.”
49. In Inderjit Singh’s case, the Hon’ble Apex Court
observed as under ( para 32) :
“32. Submissions made by Shri Ranjit Kumar on the
issue of limitation, in view of the provisions of Section
468 CrPC, that the complaint could be filed only within a
period of one year from the date of the incident seem to
be preponderous in view of the provisions of Sections
28 and 32 of the 2005 Act read with Rule 15(6) of the
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Rules,
2006 which make the provisions of CrPC applicable and
stand fortified by the judgments of this Court in Japani
Sahoo v. Chandra Sekhar Mohanty [(2007) 7 SCC 394
: (2007) 3 SCC (Cri) 388 : AIR 2007 SC 2762] and
NOIDA Entrepreneurs Assn. v. NOIDA [(2011) 6 SCC
508 : (2011) 2 SCC (Cri) 1015].”
50. However, in this case, it is noteworthy that the case
was not quashed as not maintainable being time barred
under Section 468 of Cr.P.C., rather the proceedings
under DV Act were quashed on the basis of the factual

29
matrix of the case wherein it was held that a proceeding
under DV Act cannot be compatible and in consonance
when the decree of divorce is still subsists that will be
abuse of process of law. The relevant para 33 of the
Inderjit Singh’s Case (supra) reads as under :-
“33. In view of the above, we are of the considered
opinion that permitting the Magistrate to proceed
further with the complaint under the provisions of the
Act 2005 is not compatible and in consonance with the
decree of divorce which still subsists and thus, the
process amounts to abuse of the process of the court.
Undoubtedly, for quashing a complaint, the court has to
take its contents on its face value and in case the same
discloses an offence, the court generally does not
interfere with the same. However, in the backdrop of
the factual matrix of this case, permitting the court to
proceed with the complaint would be travesty of justice.
Thus, interest of justice warrants quashing of the same.
51. In Krishna Bhattacharjee case, the Hon’ble
Supreme Court taking into consideration the judgement
passed in the Inderjit Singh case, has observed as
under :-
“32. Regard being had to the aforesaid statement of law, we
have to see whether retention of stridhan by the husband or
any other family members is a continuing offence or not.
There can be no dispute that wife can file a suit for
realisation of the stridhan but it does not debar her to lodge
a criminal complaint for criminal breach of trust. We must
state that was the situation before the 2005 Act came into
force. In the 2005 Act, the definition of “aggrieved person”
clearly postulates about the status of any woman who has
been subjected to domestic violence as defined under
Section 3 of the said Act. “Economic abuse” as it has been
defined in Section 3(iv) of the said Act has a large
canvass. Section 12, relevant portion of which has been
reproduced hereinbefore, provides for procedure for
obtaining orders of reliefs. It has been held in Inderjit Singh
Grewal [Inderjit Singh Grewal v. State of Punjab, (2011) 12
SCC 588 : (2012) 2 SCC (Civ) 742 : (2012) 2 SCC (Cri)
614] that Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
applies to the said case under the 2005 Act as envisaged

30
under Sections 28 and 32 of the said Act read with Rule
15(6) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
Rules, 2006. We need not advert to the same as we are of
the considered opinion that as long as the status of the
aggrieved person remains and stridhan remains in the
custody of the husband, the wife can always put forth her
claim under Section 12 of the 2005 Act. We are disposed to
think so as the status between the parties is not severed
because of the decree of dissolution of marriage. The concept
of “continuing offence” gets attracted from the date of
deprivation of stridhan, for neither the husband nor any
other family members can have any right over the stridhan
and they remain the custodians. For the purpose of the
2005 Act, she can submit an application to the Protection
Officer for one or more of the reliefs under the 2005 Act.
33. In the present case, the wife had submitted the
application on 22-5-2010 and the said authority had
forwarded the same on 1-6-2010. In the application, the wife
had mentioned that the husband had stopped payment of
monthly maintenance from January 2010 and, therefore, she
had been compelled to file the application for stridhan.
Regard being had to the said concept of “continuing offence”
and the demands made, we are disposed to think that the
application was not barred by limitation and the courts below
as well as the High Court had fallen into a grave error by
dismissing the application being barred by limitation.”
52. It is significant that the judgement passed by the
Hon’ble Apex Court in the aforesaid two cases do not
directly deal with the applicability of provisions of Section
468 CrPC, to the application filed under Section 12 of the
D.V.Act. In fact, in the Inderjit Singh case, the Hon’ble
Supreme Court has just stated “seem to be
preponderous in view of the provisions of Section 28 and
32 of the Act 2005 read with Rule 15(6) of the Protection
of Women from Domestic Violence Rules, 2006.”
However, the Hon’ble Court neither scrutinized nor
viewed nor decided the case on the basis of alleged
applicability of limitation under Section 468 Cr.P.C. in

31
context of DV Act. Similarly, in the Krishna Bhattacharjee
case, the Hon’ble Court without interfering/ scrutinizing/
commenting on that aspect of limitation under DV Act
vis-a-vis Section 468 of Cr.P.C., opted to consider the
case from the concept of “continuing offences” under
criminal jurisprudence.
53. Thus, it is clear that in none of the aforesaid cases,
the issue was considered or argued before the Hon’ble
Court from the standpoints :-
• That the reliefs claimed/provided in the DV
Act are remedial in nature as opposed to
penal in nature.
• That the mode of information/ complaint/
application under DV Act is not confined to be
moved by the aggrieved person only.
• The duty is cast upon the State to protect the
aggrieved woman from the domestic violence
and it has to act on the information received
from any other source also besides an
aggrieved woman as provided in the Act and
its related Rules.
54. From the above analysis, it is discerned out that the
reliefs provided under the D.V.Act are remedial in nature
and no act of domestic violence is punishable either by
imprisonment or by penalty except as provided under
Section 31 i.e. breach of remedial order passed and
Section 33 (Penalty for not discharging duty by protection
officer).

32
55. Section 468 Cr.P.C. speaks about taking of
“cognizance of an offence” and the acts of domestic
violence described in the D.V.Act are not offences under
the D.V.Act, hence taking of the cognizance of offence is
out of question, therefore, applicability of Section 468
Cr.P.C. for acting upon the applications moved under
Section 12 of the D.V.Act does not seem just and legal.
In other words, Section 468 Cr.P.C. has no application as
far as the applications under Section 12 of the D.V.Act
are concerned.
56. Thus, it is concluded that Section 468 Cr.P.C. has no
applicability for filing complaint under Section 12 of the
D.V.Act. The question no.(i) is answered accordingly.
57. Now comes for consideration the question no.(ii),
which runs as follows :-
“(ii). Whether a complaint filed under Section
12 of the Act having civil consequences
and, therefore, in absence of specific
period of limitation being provided, the
complaint should be filed within a period
of three years from the date of cause of
action or whether it can be filed at any
point in time?”
58. Learned counsel for the petitioner argued in
alternative that if the statute is civil in nature or to say
the remedies provided under the D.V.Act. are remedial in
nature as opposed to penal then in case of absence of
any limitation provided under the D.V. Act, the limitation

33
provided under the Limitation Act, 1963 in Article 137 of
Schedule appended to the Act should apply as is
applicable in other civil matters.
59. Article 137 provides that where there no period of
limitation is provided elsewhere for moving an
application, the period of limitation shall be 3 years from
the date when the right to apply accrues.
60. Learned counsel for the private respondent and
learned A.G.A. opposed the argument by submitting that
the remedies provided under the D.V.Act are for the
causes which are of continuing nature and the D.V.Act is
a beneficial legislation so the relief provided under this
Act cannot be curtailed by putting a bar of limitation of
any kind.
61. Section 2 (j) of the Limitation Act, 1963 defines
“period of limitation”, as under :-
“(j). “period of limitation” means the period of
limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application
by the Schedule, and “prescribed period” mans the
period of limitation computed in accordance with the
provisions of this Act.”
62. Despite of specific enactment legislated for the
purpose i.e. Limitation Act, difficulty is faced in cases
where a special statute or to be more particular a
beneficial statute does not provide any time frame for
seeking a particular relief. Section 12 of the D.V.Act

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34
does not provide any limitation period for moving an
application.
Position of law/jurisprudence where no limitation
is provided under the Statute.
63. In State of Gujrat Vs. Patel Raghav Nath
reported in AIR 1969 SC 1297, the Hon’ble Supreme
Court while considering the provisions of Bombay Land
Revenue Code, 1879 wherein no limitation for exercising
the revisional power by the Commissioner is prescribed,
the court held that in spite of the fact there is no
provision for any limitation for exercising such revisional
powers, this power must be exercised in reasonable time
and the length of the reasonable time must be
determined by the facts of the case and the nature of the
order which is being revised.
64. In Govt. of India Vs. Citedal Fine
Pharmaceuticals, Madras and others reported in
(1989) 3 SCC 483, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held as
under :-
“6………………. In the absence of any period of
limitation it is settled that every authority is to exercise
the power within a reasonable period. What would be
reasonable period, would depend upon the facts of
each case. Whenever a question regarding the
inordinate delay in issuance of notice of demand is
raised, it would be open to the assessee to contend
that it is bad on the ground of delay and it will be for
the relevant officer to consider the question whether
in the facts and circumstances of the case notice of
demand for recovery was made within reasonable
period. No hard and fast rules can be laid down in

35
this regard as the determination of the question
will depend upon the facts of each case.”
65. In Dehri Rohtas Light Railway Co. Ltd. Vs.
District Board Bhojpur, 16 (1992) 2 SCC 598, the
Hon’ble Apex Court has shed the light on the point as
under :-
“13. The rule which says that the Court may not
enquire into belated and stale claim is not a rule of law
but a rule of practice based on sound and proper
exercise of discretion. Each case must depend upon its
own facts. It will all depend on what the breach of the
fundamental right and the remedy claimed are and how
delay arose. The principle on which the relief to the
party on the grounds of laches or delay is denied is that
the rights which have accrued to others by reason of
the delay in filing the petition should not be allowed to
be disturbed unless there is a reasonable explanation
for the delay…………..”
66. The Hon’ble Apex Court cautioned in Balwant
Singh (Dead) Vs. Jagdish Singh (2010) 8 SCC 685
and held that “justice must be done to both parties
equally. Then alone the ends of justice can be achieved.
If a party has been thoroughly negligent in implementing
its rights, remedies, it will be equally unfair to deprive
the other party of a valuable right that has accrued to it
in law. As a result of his acting vigilantly.”
67. Throwing light on the point, Hon’ble Apex Court in
Joint Collector Ranga Reddy District and another
Vs. D. Rarsing Rao and others (2015) 3 SCC 695,
held that (para 25 and 31) :-
“25. The legal position is fairly well settled by a
long line of decisions of this Court which have laid

36
down that even when there is no period of
limitation prescribed for the exercise of any power,
revisional or otherwise, such power must be
exercised within a reasonable period. This is so
even in cases where allegations of fraud have
necessitated the exercise of any corrective power. we
may briefly refer to some of the decisions only to bring
home the point that the absence of a stipulated
period of limitation makes little or no difference
insofar as the exercise of the power is concerned
which ought to be permissible only when the power is
invoked within a reasonable period.
31. To sum up, delayed exercise of revisional
jurisdiction is frowned upon because if actions or
transactions were to remain forever open to
challenge, it will mean avoidable and endless
uncertainty in human affairs, which is not the policy of
the law. Because, even when there is no period of
limitation prescribed for exercise of such powers,
the intervening delay, may have led to creation of
third-party rights, that cannot be trampled by a
belated exercise of a discretionary power especially
when no cogent explanation for the delay is in sight.
Rule of law it is said must run closely with the rule of
life. Even in cases where the orders sought to be
revised are fraudulent, the exercise of power must be
within a reasonable period of discovery of the time for
its correction to infinity ; for otherwise the exercise
of revisionisal power would itself be tantamount to a
fraud upon the statute that vests such power in an
authority.”
68. In Chedi Lal Yadav and others Vs. Hari Kishore
Yadav and others reported in (2018) 12 SCC 527,
the Hon’ble Apex Court has held as under :-
“13. In our view, where no period of limitation is
prescribed, the action must be taken, whether suo
moto or on the application of the parties, within a
reasonable time. Undoubtedly, what is reasonable
time would depend on the circumstances of each
case and the purpose of the statute. In the case
before us, we are clear that the action is grossly
delayed and taken beyond reasonable time,
particularly, in view of the fact that the land was
transferred several times during this period,
obviously, in the faith that it is not encumbered by any
rights.

37
14. We are of the view that merely because the
legislation is beneficial and no limitation is
prescribed, the rights acquired by persons cannot
be ignored lightly and proceedings cannot be initiated
after unreasonable delay as observed by this Court in
Situ Sahu Vs. State of Jharkhand.”
HOW TO ‘INTERPRET’ OR ‘CONSTRUCT’ A ‘BENEFICIAL
LEGISLATION’?
69. As the D.V.Act is a beneficial legislation, before
proceeding further, we have to consider how to ‘interpret’
or ‘construct’ a ‘beneficial legislation’. ‘Construction’ is
the drawing of conclusions regarding the subjects which
lie beyond the direct expression of any of the text,
conclusion which are not written in the text of the Act but
imbibed in very spirit of the piece of legislation. It slightly
differs from ‘interpretation’ where the true sense is
deduced from the word used in the legislation.
70. Maxwell Sir Peter Benson, “On the
interpretation of Statutes” ( 2007 at page 123) has
said “it is said to be the duty of the judge to make such
construction of a statute as shall suppress the mischief
and advance the remedy. Even where the usual meaning
of the language falls short of the whole object of the
Legislature, a more extended meaning may be attributed
to the words, if fairly susceptible of it”.
71. In Jeffrey W. Stempel, ‘The Insurance Policy
as Statute’ (2010), it has been written “Beneficial

38
statutes, as the name implies, were those designed to
provide rights, privileges or entitlements to segments of
the public or to the public as a whole. Today, such laws
are commonly referred to as remedial and are subject to
the canon of construction that remedial legislation is to
be liberally construed in order to effectuate its purpose.”
72. In Thakur Raghuraj Singh Vs. Rai Bahadur Lala
Hari Kishan Das and another, AIR 1944 PC 35, it has
been observed that a remedial statute must be construed
so as “to secure that the relief contemplated by the
statute shall not be denied to the class intended to be
relieved.”
73. In Workmen of Indian Standards Institutions
Vs. The Management of Indian Standards
Institution : (1975) 2 SCC 847, the Hon’ble Apex
Court while interpreting The Industrial Disputes Act ( a
beneficial legislation ) laid down as under :-
“1. ……………………We cannot forget that it is a
social welfare legislation we are interpreting and we
must place such an interpretation as would advance
the object and purpose of the legislation and give full
meaning and effect to it in the achievement of its
avowed social objective.”
74. In B. Shah Vs. Presiding Officer, Labour
Court, Coimbatore and others : (1977) 4 SCC 384,
the Hon’ble Apex Court while interpreting the maternity
benefits act laid down as under :-

39
“18. …………………………………..It has also to be
borne in mind in this connection that in interpreting
provisions of beneficial pieces of legislation like one
in hand which is intended to achieve the object of
doing social justice to women workers employed in the
plantations and which squarely fall within the purview
of Article 42 of the Constitution, the beneficent
rule of construction which would enable the woman
worker not only to subsist but also to make up her
dissipated energy, nurse her child, preserve her
efficiency as a worker and maintain the level of
her previous efficiency and output has to be adopted
by the Court.”
To sift out, “no limitation” does not mean “any time”. It
means “reasonable period”. What is to be treated as
“reasonable period” will depend upon the factual matrix
of each case keeping in mind the nature of the
legislation to ensure the justice. It should also be taken
into consideration that other party should not suffer for
want of bona fides, deliberate inaction or negligent
attitude on the part of the aggrieved party.
75. The Hon’ble Apex Court in Bharat Singh Vs.
Management of New Delhi Tuberculosis Centre New
Delhi, (1986) 2 SCC 614, held as under :-
“11. …………………..Now, it is trite to say that acts
aimed at social amelioration giving benefits for the
have-nots should receive liberal construction. It is
always the duty of the court to give such a construction
to a statute as would promote the purpose or object of
the Act. a construction that promotes the purpose of
the legislation should be preferred to a literal
construction. a construction which would defeat the
rights of the have-nots and the underdog and which
would leave to injustice should always be avoided……”
76. In Lucknow Development Authority Vs.
M.K.Gupta : (1994 ) 1 SCC 243, the Hon’ble Apex
Court has held as under :-
“Legislation that is enacted to protect the public
interest (in this case Consumer Protection Act)
cannot be construed in a narrow manner so as to
frustrate its objective. The Consumer Protection

40
Act is social benefit legislation…. It should be
construed in favour of the consumer.”
77. In Shashi Gupta Vs. L.I.C. : 1995 Supp (1) SCC
754, it was held that while interpreting the terms of
insurance policies, courts will accept the one which
favours the policy holders.
78. In Union of India Vs. Pradeep Kumari ( 1995)
2 SCC 736, it was observed that ” it is well settled that
in beneficial legislation, the court should adopt with
construction which advances the policy of legislator to
extend the benefit rather than a construction which has
the effect of curtailing it”.
79. In Ghantesher Ghosh Vs. Madan Mohan Ghosh
and others : (1996) 11 SCC 446, it was held that “It is
also well settled rule of interpretation of statute that the
court should lean in favour of that interpretation which
fructifies the beneficial purpose for which the provision is
enacted by the legislature and should not adopt an
interpretation which frustrates or unnecessarily truncates
it.”
80. In Bombay Anand Bhawan Restaurant Vs.
E.S.I.C. : (2009) 9 SCC 61, it was held by the Apex
Court that E.S.I. Act is a social welfare legislation. It is
beneficial legislation. The court must even, if necessary,
strain the language of the Act in order to achieve the

41
purpose. The act must receive a liberal construction so
as to promote its objects”.
81. In R.P.F.C. Vs. Hooghly Mills Company Ltd. :
(2012) 2 SCC 489, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has
observed that “Provident Fund Act is a beneficial social
welfare legislation to ensure benefits to the employees.
These statutes are normally called remedial statutes or
social welfare legislation. The normal canon of
interpretation is that a remedial statute received liberal
construction whereas a penal statute calls for strict
interpretation.
82. In Om Prakash Vs. Reliance General Insurance
: (2017) 9 SCC 724, the Hon’ble Apex Court observed
that Consumer Protection Act is a beneficial legislation to
protect the interests of consumers. It deserves liberal
interpretation.
HOW TO DEAL WITH DELAY UNDER THE D.V. ACT?
83. in “Domestic Violence, Domestic Torts and
Divorce” : Constraints and Possibilities” an article
authored by Clare Dalton (Professor of Law and
Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Institute at
Northeastern University School of Law )(31 New ENG L.
REV.319 (1997), the same issue was considered. The
article denotes that traditionally, statutes of limitation

42
required that, actions for battery or assault be brought
within two, or at most three years after the incident on
which they are based. The corresponding limitation
periods for intentional infliction of emotional distress are
sometimes a little more generous -ranging between one
and six years. Based on the nature of abusive
relationships and nature, it may take time for an
aggrieved partner to take action, if these limitation
periods are applied without modification, she is likely to
be able to sue for only a small portion of her total injury.
The author indicates that the most successful litigation
strategy to date has been to argue that :
“partner abuse should be understood as a continuing
tort, and a cumulative injury, so that statutes of
limitation begin to run only when the abuse stops,
which will be when the partners separate, unless the
abuser continues to terrorize his partner, either to
punish her, or in the hopes of bringing her back into the
relationship.”
84. In Page Vs. United States, 729 F.2d 818, 821-
22 (D.C.Cir.1984), it has been observed that :
“when a tort involves continuing injury, the cause of
action accrues, and the limitation period begins to run,
at the time the tortious conduct ceases.” Since
usually no single incident in a continuous chain of
tortious activity can “fairly or realistically be identified
as the cause of significant harm,” it seems proper to
regard the cumulative effect of the conduct as
actionable. Moreover, since “one should not be allowed
to acquire a right to continue the tortious conduct, it
follows logically that status of limitation should not run
prior to its cessation.”
85. Likewise, in Bustamente Vs. Tucker, 607So. 2d
532 (La. 1992), it was observed that :

43
“intentional infliction of emotional distress as a
continuing tort in a sexual harassment context, holding
that when similar harassing conduct by the same
individual occurred almost daily, “and the conduct
becomes tortious and actionable because of its
continuous, cumulative, synergistic nature,” the
limitation period would not begin to run until the
last act occurred or the conduct abated.” (emphasis
supplied).
86. In V.D. Bhanot Vs. Savita Bhanot (supra), the
Hon’ble Apex Court has confirmed the view taken by the
Delhi High Court and held as under :-
“12. We agree with the view expressed by the High
Court that in looking into a complaint under Section 12
of the PWD Act, 2005, the conduct of the parties even
prior to the coming into force of the PWD Act, could be
taken into consideration while passing an order under
Sections 18, 19 and 20 thereof. In our view, the Delhi
High Court has also rightly held that even if a wife, who
had shared a household in the past, but was no longer
doing so when the Act came into force, would still be
entitled to the protection of the PWD Act, 2005.”
87. In Shalini Vs. Kishore and others (2015) 11
SCC 718, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as
under :-
“In Saraswathy Vs. Babu, in the similar circumstances
where the wife was driven out of the matrimonial home
about fourteen years before, complaint was filed under
the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,
2005, and this Court has laid down in the law on the
point as under :(CSCC p.72, para24)
“24. We are of the view that the act of the respondent
husband squarely comes within the ambit of Section 3
of the DVA, 2005, which defines ‘domestic violence’ in
wide terms. The High Court made an apparent error in
holding that the conduct of the parties prior to the
coming into force of the DV, 2005 cannot be taken into
consideration while passing an order. This is a case
where the respondent husband has not complied with
the order and direction passed by the trial court and the
appellate court. …….The appellant wife having being
harassed since 2000 is entitled for protection order and
residence order under Sections 18 and 19 of the DVA,

44
2005 alongwith the maintenance as allowed b the trial
court under Section 20(1) (d) of the DVA, 2005.”
88. The Hon’ble Apex Court in S.Vanitha Vs. Deputy
Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban District &
others(supra), has further observed as under :-
“22. …………………………………..The PWDV Act 2005
is also in the nature of a special legislation, that is
enacted with the purpose of correcting gender
discrimination that pans out in the form of social and
economic inequities in a largely patriarchal society……”
89. In Preetam Singh and another Vs. State of
Uttar Pradesh and another (supra), the
Allahabad High Court has held as under :-
“12. If the provision of Section 2 (a) are read together
with the provisions of Section 3(iv) (a) of the
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,
2005, it is clear that a wife, even if, she was driven
out of her matrimonial home prior to the
commencement of the Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005, if continues to be
deprived of all or any economic or financial resources
to which she is entitled under any law or custom
whether payable under an order of a court or
otherwise or which she requires out of necessity, is
entitled to move an application under Section 12 of
the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,
2005. The view that I am taking is also supported by
a decision of the Bombay High Court in the case of
Maroti Lande Vs. Sau Ganguai Moroti Lande where
the court was of the view that deprivation to the
benefits of a matrimonial home amounts to
economic abuse and it generates a continuous cause
of action.”
90. Hence, at the cost of repetition, since the D.V Act is
a beneficial legislation providing remedies of civil nature
for ensuring effective protection to the women against
the domestic violence. The legislature in its wisdom has
provided no limitation for moving application under its

45
Section 12, so the rigour of provisions of the Limitation
Act, 1963 shall not apply and the application so moved
cannot be turned down in limine on the ground of
limitation alone. The best approach would be to apply
the criteria of within ‘reasonable period’ and what will be
the ‘reasonable period’, will be decided on the basis of
‘factual matrix’ of each case, keeping in mind the
principle of ‘equity, justice and good conscience”.
The question no.(ii) is answered accordingly.
91. To conclude neither Section 468 of Cr.P.C. nor the
provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 shall apply to
application moved under Section 12 of the D.V.Act. The
questions referred are decided accordingly.
Let the matter be placed before the learned Single
Judge for final disposal.

(Saroj Yadav, J) (Ramesh Sinha,J)
Order date : 23.10.2021.
Shukla.

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