S. 468 CrPC not applicable to S.12 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005: SC

In the case of Kamatchi vs Lakshmi Narayanan, Supreme Court has held that the limitation period prescribed under S.468 of the CrPC is not applicable for the filing of an application by an aggrieved woman under S. 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Following are the facts of the case:

Firstly, S. 12 application was filed by the woman almost ten years after she had left her matrimonial home. The Madras High Court quashed the proceedings as time-barred as per S. 468 CrPC.

A person victim of domestic violence.

Secondly, the Court held that as per Ss 28 and 32 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 r/w Rule 15(6) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Rules 2006, the provisions of the CrPC are applicable. Also, the S 12 application ought to have been filed within one year of the acts of alleged domestic violence.

For a proper understanding of the judgment, S 12 of the said Act allows an aggrieved woman to file an application before the Magistrate seeking various reliefs. These reliefs can be orders of protection or restraint or payment of compensation – against acts of domestic violence committed by her husband or in-laws. Section 468 of CrPC sets out the period of limitation for taking cognizance over offenses.

Depending on the sentence of the offense, various limitation periods are prescribed.

Concluding remark:

The Supreme Court held the abovementioned judgment of the Madras High Court, as erroneous. The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and PS Narasimha stated that-

“Filing of an application under Section 12 of the Act cannot be equated to the lodging of a complaint or initiation of prosecution”.

The Court also added that the starting point for limitation for an offense committed under the Domestic Violence Act would arise only after there is a breach of an order passed under Section 12 of the Act.

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