Continuing Offence

Section 472 CrPC provides that in case of a continuing offence, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time period during which the offence continues. The expression “continuing offence” has not been defined in CrPC because it is one of those expressions which does not have a fixed connotation, and therefore, the formula of universal application cannot be formulated in this respect.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Edition), ‘continuing’ means ‘enduring; not terminated by a single act or fact; subsisting for a definite period or intended to cover or apply to successive similar obligations or occurrences’. Continuing offence means ‘type of crime which is committed over a span of time’. As to period of statute of limitation in a continuing offence, the last act of the offence controls for commencement of the period. ‘A continuing offence, such that only the last act thereof within the period of the statute of limitations need be alleged in the indictment or information, is one which may consist of separate acts or a course of conduct but which arises from that singleness of thought, purpose or action which may be deemed a single impulse.’ So also a ‘continuous crime’ means ‘one consisting of a continuous series of acts, which endures after the period of consummation, as, the offence of carrying concealed weapons. In the case of instantaneous crimes, the statute of limitation begins to run with the consummation, while in the case of continuous crimes it only begins with the cessation of the criminal conduct or act.
The law on this point can be summarized to the effect that, in the case of a continuing offence, the ingredients of the offence continue i.e. endure even after the period of consummation, whereas in an instantaneous offence, the offence takes place once and for all i.e. when the same actually takes place. In such cases, there is no continuing offence, even though the damage resulting from the injury may itself continue. Udai Shankar Awasthi v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another, (2013) 2 SCC 435.

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