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An application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act is not barred by the limitations set out in Section 468 of the Criminal Procedure Code: Karnataka High Court

When the application under Section 12 of the DV Act is not covered under the term ‘offence’, section 468 of Cr. P.C is inapplicable. Therefore the application of Section 468 of Cr.P.C. to an application under Section 12 of the DV Act is a misconception. The judgement was passed by the High Court of Karnataka in the case of Sri Puttaraju v. Smt.Shivakumari [Criminal Revision Petition No.730/2019] by Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice K.S.Mudagal.

A petition filed by Puttaraju challenging the order passed by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, directing him to pay an amount of Rs 8,000 per month to his wife and children as maintenance and house rent. The husband challenged the order which directed him to deposit an amount of Rs 4,32,000. The court had directed the amount to be transferred to the magistrate court from where the wife could withdraw the same.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner opposes the application on the ground that the petition was filed 10 years from the date of the alleged domestic incident, therefore the petition itself was not maintainable. Relying on Section 28 of the DV Act, learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that to file application under Section 12 of the DV Act, the Code of Criminal procedure is applicable. Therefore he submits that Section 468 of Cr.P.C. is applicable

Learned Counsel for the respondent refutes the contention regarding limitation on the ground that Section 468 of Cr.P.C. applies only to the petition under Section 31 of the DV Act and not to the application under Section 12 of the DV Act filed for the reliefs under Sections 20 and 21 of the DV Act.

The court opined that “Section 12 of the DV Act is only an enabling provision to initiate an enquiry to find out whether such act or omission is committed.” Finally, it concluded by saying “Section 31 of the DV Act makes it clear that the only breach of the protection order or interim protection order etc. passed under Section 12 of the DV Act constitutes an offence and made punishably. Therefore it is clear that the act or omission contemplated under Section 31 of the DV Act is an offence and the application under Section 12 of the DV Act itself is not an offence.”

While rejecting the petition “the court noted that Section 468 (1) and 468(2)(b) of Cr.P.C. themselves show that the bar of limitation for taking cognizance is intertwined with an offence.” Section 468 of Cr.P.C. comes into the picture only if there is an offence. If there is no offence, there is no limitation. “The Court said that under Section 12 of the DV Act, domestic violence is not called or treated as an offence. It speaks of a court granting relief and not of conviction and sentence.” The judgment said To attract Section 468 of Cr. P.C, essentially the Act alleged must be an offence. Under the DV Act, the offence is not defined, as defined in Section 40 of IPC.

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