The Supreme Court larger bench, comprising three Honorable Judges, while deciding leave to appeal in a pre arrest bail matter in Crl.P.497-L/2023, has recently ruled that limitation under Rule 2 of Order XXIII of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980 (“Supreme Court Rules”) run in petitions for leave to appeal in criminal cases.
The brief factual background of the case is that the petitioner filed petition for leave to appeal before the Court after a delay of 74 days from the expiry of limitation period. The Supreme Court Rules allow thirty days period in which petition for leave to appeal may be filed in criminal cases. The petition in hand was filed far beyond this period. Thus, it was dismissed.
The Court before straightaway dismissing the petition, deemed it appropriate to expound on the submission of the counsel that no limitation runs in cases where the liberty of a person is at stake or in question. The Court has clarified that law of limitation is fully applicable to all criminal matters irrespective of the question of liberty or freedom of a person, but this rule is liberally interpreted in cases of incarcerated persons, on the ground that those who are behind the bars face many hindrances and difficulties to engage a counsel or have access to justice on time. The benefit of expansive and liberal interpretation of the said rule of limitation is available to the incarcerated ones not to the petitioners in pre-arrest bail cases, like the one in hand.crl.p._497_l_2023