Whether Magistrate can discharge accused if complaint is barred by limitation?
A perusal of the aforementioned section shows that the Magistrate has to discharge the accused : if (1) on consideration of (a) the police report, (b) the documents filed underSection 173Cr.P.C.; and (2) making such examination, if any, of the accused as the Magistrate thinks necessary; and (3) after giving the prosecution and the accused an opportunity of being heard, he considers charge against the accused to be groundless. This section, however, casts an obligation on the Magistrate to record his reasons for holding that the charge is groundless and discharging the accused.Section 239has to be read along withSection 240Cr.P.C. If the Magistrate finds that there is prima facie evidence or the material against the accused in support of the charge (allegations) he may frame charge in accordance withSection 240Cr.P.C. But if he finds that the charge (the allegations or imputations) made against the accused do not make out a prima facie case and do not furnish basis for framing charge, it will be a case of charge being groundless, so he has no option but to discharge the accused. Where the Magistrate finds that taking cognizance of the offence itself was contrary to any provision of law, like Section 468Cr.P.C., the complaint being barred by limitation, so he cannot frame the charge, he has to discharge the accused. Indeed in a case where the Magistrate takes cognizance of an offence without taking note of Section 468 Cr.P.C., the most appropriate stage at which the accused can plead for his discharge is the stage of framing the charge. He need not wait till completion of trial. The Magistrate will be committing no illegality in considering that question and discharging the accused at the stage of framing charge if the facts so justify.