The Supreme Court has held that the limitation period prescribed under Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is not applicable for the filing of an application by an aggrieved woman under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Reiterating the principle mentioned by a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in Sarah Mathew vs. The Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases & Ors. (2013), a bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and P.S. Narasimha observed that courts would be entitled to take cognizance of a complaint or initiation of proceedings even after the prescribed period of limitation lapses.
“It is … clear that though Section 468 of the Code mandates that ‘cognizance’ ought to be taken within the specified period from the commission of offence, by invoking the principles of purposive construction, this Court ruled that a complainant should not be put to prejudice, if for reasons beyond the control of the prosecuting agency or the complainant, the cognizance was taken after the period of limitation. It was observed by the Constitution Bench that if the filing of the complaint or initiation of proceedings was within the prescribed period from the date of commission of an offence, the Court would be entitled to take cognizance even after the prescribed period was over.”