The Supreme Court held that Section 5 of Limitation Act can be invoked to condone the delay to file criminal appeal against acquittal under Section 378 CrPC.

The court said that benefit of Section 5 read with Sections 2 and 3 of the Limitation Act, 1963 can be availed in an appeal against acquittal since there are no exclusionary provisions related to limitation under Section 378 of CrPC.

In this case, the appellant's contention was that the High Court had no power to condone the delay since the provisions of the Limitation Act would not be applicable as Section 378 is a self-contained Code as far as limitation is concerned.

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Prasanna Bhalachandra Varale observed, “there is no such exclusionary provision under Section 378 of CrPC, or at any other place in the Code. The benefit of Section 5 read with Sections 2 and 3 of the Limitation Act, 1963 can therefore be availed in an appeal against acquittal".

AOR Md. Shahid Anwar represented the appellants, while ASG Vikramjit Banerjee appeared for the respondent.

The Court discussed the difference in the applicability of Section 5 of both the Limitation Act of 1908 (old Act) and the Limitation Act of 1963 (new Act). In both the Acts, the provision of extension of time of limitation is provided under Section 5. The old Act specifically states that Section 5 would not apply when the period of limitation is given in special Acts, while the new Act makes Section 5 applicable even in the special laws when a period of limitation is prescribed, unless it is expressly excluded by such special law.

The Court explained that the judgments cited by the appellant in their arguments dealt with special laws which prescribed a period of limitation and the expression of the language contained in the law made it clear that limitation could not be condoned.

The Court further noted that “where a special law prescribes a period of limitation, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would have no application.”

Therefore, the Court held, “There is no force in the contentions raised by the appellants as regards the non-application of Section 5 of the Limitation Act in the present case”

Accordingly, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title: Mohd Abaad Ali & Anr. v. Directorate Of Revenue Prosecution Intelligence (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 125)


Appellants: AOR Md. Shahid Anwar; Advocates Vijay Agarwal and Chetan Manchanda

Respondent: ASG Vikramjit Banerjee; AOR Mukesh Kumar Maroria; Advocates Priyanka Das, Nachiketa Joshi, Merusagar Samantaray and Ishaan Sharma

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