1. This is an application which invokes the interference of this Court, in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, on behalf of the petitioners, in respect of whom permission was given by the learned Sessions Judge to the opposite party for prosecuting the petitioners under Section 471 of the Indian Penal Code. The petitioners produced in a former litigation a document which has been held by both the lower Courts to be a forgery, and that litigation came to an end on the 24th June 1886, by a decision of this Court which was adverse to the interests of the present petitioners. Then, on the 6th November 1886, the present application was made for a sanction to prosecute, such as is contemplated by Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code, but the Munsif declined to give permission. The learned Sessions Judge, in the exercise of the powers of a Court of appeal, has, however, granted the sanction prayed for, and in disputing the propriety of this order, Mr. Niblett has relied mainly upon two points. In the first place, the learned pleader contends that there was such unreasonable delay as to bar the application, and, in the next place, he argues that under Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code it was important for the Court granting sanction to obey strictly the provisions as to the specification of the circumstances as to the place where and the time when the offence was committed.
2. As to the first of these points, I am not aware of any rule of law which subjects such applications to any period of limitation. Mr. Niblett relies on the general provisions of Article 178 of the second schedule of the Limitation Act (XV of 1877) and contends that the clause gives indications of a period of three years within which such application should be made. I cannot accept this contention, because rules of limitation are foreign to the administration of criminal justice, and it is only by specific legislation that periods of limitation can be rendered applicable to criminal proceedings.
3. For instance in the second division of schedule II of the Limitation Act specific provision as to the period of limitation is made in respect of criminal appeals, and, it is no doubt, by reason of those express provisions that limitation is applicable to such appeals. But supposing no such provisions existed, I should probably have been inclined to hold that even in the case of appeals arising out of criminal proceedings, no period of limitation was applicable on general principles of the law; and the result of such a view would, no doubt be, to render it possible for a person convicted of a criminal offence to appeal at any time, at least during the continuance of the sentence passed upon him.
4. The present, however, is not a case of appeal, but only one of an application to obtain sanction for prosecution under Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and I have to consider whether Article 178, schedule II, of the Limitation Act is applicable to the case. For the purposes of deciding this question, I need not determine 'when the right to apply accrued' within the meaning of the third column of that article. The substantive portion of the article in describing the class of cases to which it is applicable runs as follows:
Applications for which no period of limitation is provided elsewhere in this schedule, or by the Code of Civil Procedure, Section 230
5. In order to interpret this clause, it is important to realize that the preamble of the Act itself, whilst making provision as to limitation governing 'suits' and 'appeals,' expressly limits the scope of the enactment to 'certain applications.' In other words, the Act does not profess to provide for all kinds of applications what-soever. This being so, it is important to notice that throughout the third division of schedule II of the Act no reference is made to any application arising out of proceedings under the Code of Criminal Procedure, and this circumstance taken with the language employed in the preamble of the statute, and also with the words of Article 178 itself, leads me to the conclusion, that, that article is not applicable to applications under Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This view proceeds upon the same principle as the ruling of Westropp, C. J., in Rai Manakbai v. Manakji Kavasji I. L. R., 7 Bom., 213, and of Wilson, J., in Govind Chunder Goswami v. Rungunmoney I. L. R., 6 Cal., 60. The effect of those rulings is, that the general words of Article 178 must not be read irrespective of the latter part of the article, which refers to the Code of Civil Procedure, and that the applications contemplated by the article must be taken to mean applications under that Code. Similar is the principle of the ruling of the Madras High Court in Kylasa Goundan v. Ramasami Ayyar I. L. R., 4 Mad., 172, and of the Bombay High Court in Vithal Janardan v. Vithojirav Putlajirav I. L. R., 6 Bom., 586, and of the Calcutta High Court in the case of Ishan Chunder Roy I. L. R., 6 Cal., 707, where Tottenham, J., laid down the general rule that article 178 must be construed with reference to the wording of the other articles and can relate only to applications ejusdem generis.
6. As to the next part of Mr. Niblett's argument, I have to consider the effect of the following paragraph of Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure:
The sanction referred in this Section may be expressed in general terms, and need not name the accused person; but it shall, so far as practicable, specify the Court or other place in which, and the occasion on which, the offence was committed.
7. It seems to me that the terms in which the learned Judge gave sanction in this case complied sufficiently with the provisions of this clause, because it specifies the Court and the occasion on which the offence is alleged to have been committed. Mr. Niblett's argument seems to proceed upon the contention, that the learned Judge in giving sanction, should have specified the place and occasion on which the alleged forgery was committed. But this contention is clearly unsound, because the offence charged is that described in Section 471 of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to the use of a forged document, and such an offence in a case like the present would take place in the Court where the document is used and not at the place where it has been forged.
8. For the purposes of this case, I am not required to enter into the merits of the case as to how far the prosecution, if instituted, is likely to succeed, and it is enough to say that Mr. Niblett's argument on the points of law raised by him having failed, I see no reason to interfere with the order of the learned Judge, in exercising the revisional jurisdiction of this Court.
9. The application is, therefore, rejected.