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Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     28 June 2009

Confession in time barred case

 Dear friends! Let us share our views on applicability of principles of limitation in criminal matters. Under civil law satisfying a time barred claim is not barred. The principle is: only remedy is barred and right does not extinguishes.

In a criminal case where an accused surrenders and confesses and prays for punishment   to him for an offence, which has  become time barred u/s 468 Cr.P.C. , whether his is application maintainable?





 17 Replies

PARTHA P BORBORA (advocate)     28 June 2009

SWec-468 mCr.P.C used the word "shall" so it is a mandatory provision. if the offence is time barred his application is not maintainable and should to be rejected forthwith.

Vijay Kumar (Advocate)     28 June 2009

Sir, if no case has been filed against the accused within the prescribed time, the court cannot accept surrender at all. 

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     28 June 2009

Thank you mr Borbora and Mr Vijay Kumar ! lets see what other learned friends opine.

Ramakrishnan.V (Lawyer)     29 June 2009

In State of Punjab v. Sarwan Singh, AIR 1981 SC1054, the accused Sarwan Singh was
convicted of an offence under Section 406, Indian Penal Code, by the trial Court. However, on
appeal having been preferred by him, the High Court set aside his conviction and acquitted him mainly on the ground that the prosecution launched against him was clearly barred by limitation under sections 468 & 469 of the Code. The State went in appeal by special leave to the Supreme Court but the same was dismissed with the following observations which are very pertinent to notice:.
"The object of Criminal Procedure Code in putting a bar of limitation on prosecutions was clearly to prevent the parties from filing cases after a long time, as a result of which material evidence may disappear and also to prevent abuse of the process of the court by filing vexatious and belated prosecutions long after the date of the offence. The object which the statute seeks to subserve is clearly in consonance with the concept of fairness of trial as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. It is, thereforee, of the utmost importance that any prosecution, whether by the State or a private complainant must abide by the letter of law or take the risk of the prosecution failing on the ground of limitation."

This being the object of the period of limitation, the same code by virtue of section 470 gives the Magistrate the dicretion to condone the delay and the knowledge but the question is whether the self-incriminatory statements could be allowed even in a time barred case

Vijay Kumar (Advocate)     29 June 2009

Sir, the Magistrate will apply mind regarding the acceptance of  surrender, if any case has been filed and is pending on his file.

                              Suppose a person appears before the Magistrate and states that he committed the offence u/s 323 IPC two years ago, the Magistrate cannot proceed at all, in the absence of any complaint to this effect.

                            If he states that he committed the offence just 1 minute before, the Magistrate again cannot do anything unless someone comes and complains against the person who has committed the crime.



PARTHA P BORBORA (advocate)     29 June 2009

i do agree with vijay kumar.

Ramakrishnan.V (Lawyer)     30 June 2009

when section40 ofCr.P.C of 197 3uses the expression,


· In computing the period of limitation, the time during which the offender,-

  1. has been absent from India or from any territory outside India which is under the administration of the Central Government, or
  2. has avoided arrest by absconding or concealing himself, shall be excluded.

Thus the moment the accused appears before court would be the starting point and the confession becomes the very complaint by which the Magistrate can take cognisance, what would be the effect.  Would it be against the Constitutional Guarantee because law requires something more.


Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     30 June 2009

s 469 to 470 enumerate certain circumstances for exclusion of period. these provisions are regarding computation of limitation. thus by applying these provisions the cognizance will be treated within time. My query is about a time barred cognizance and not about exemption in limitation.

1 Like

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     30 June 2009

Thank you mr Ramkrishnan!

Ramakrishnan.V (Lawyer)     30 June 2009

There is is nothing called time barred case in the code of criminal procedure or the aqpplication of the Limitation act of 1963 to criminal cases except for preferring n appeal or a revision as the case may be.  Hencce, this be the case so would you please explain the terminology, of Confession of time barred cases

Ramakrishnan.V (Lawyer)     30 June 2009

a case means only in criminal cases when cognisance is taken and  not otherwise.

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     01 July 2009

Your grammatical aptitude is appreciable!!!!!!! I will request the criminal jurists to be careful !!! Thank you again!!!

PARTHA P BORBORA (advocate)     01 July 2009

Dr.Tripathi used tthe tarm "principle of limitation in criminal matters" which is very clear and straight. in my opinion by using this term he tried to explain  certain circumstances for exclusion of period in connection with a criminal case. as these provisions are regarding computation of  a period after laps of which cognizence shall not be taken. As it pescribed a particular time period it may be tarmed as "time barred".

Swami Sadashiva Brahmendra Sar (Nil)     01 July 2009

Thank you Mr. Borbora !

I may not be accurate in using a word while informal chats. However, even the words in judgments of Supreme Court are not read as legislative words and moreover, the words of legislation also are to be read in the context they are used. Thus, in the context, is there any blunder if the word ‘case’ is read so as to include ‘offence’ also?


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