K.C. Chunder, J.
1. This Rule was issued at the instance of the Corporation of Calcutta against an order of the Municipal Magistrate of Calcutta acquitting the accused opposite parties of an offence under Section 488 read with Section 396(1) (a), Calcutta Municipal Act.
2. Briefly, the facts are that the opposite parties have been running a private market for which they had no license. They had applied for a license and it had been refused on 24-9-49. On 22-2-50 the present prosecution was launched. The objection taken was that in view of Section 534(1) (a) the prosecution was barred by limitation. The reply of the Corporation was that there was continuing offences and therefore they had a fresh starting point of limitation from each such offence. It is said in Section 488(2) that whoever after having been convicted of any offence referred to ..... continues to commit such offence shall be punished .....' This shows that a continuing offence is after a conviction for the original offence and not before. If an offence is committed and the Corporation takes no steps it cannot come to Court for punishment for continuing offences. Therefore as in the present case there was no previous conviction there is no case of a continuing offence. In the present case there was only the original offence. If there had been a conviction for that offence then subsequent to the conviction for each day that the offence was persisted in there would have been a separate continuing offence for which there would be a fresh starting point for limitation under Section 534(2). Therefore as the present prosecution was launched three months after the commission of the offence and as there is no question of a continuing offence there having been no previous conviction, the learned Magistrate rightly acquitted the accused persons on the ground that this prosecution was barred by limitation. The period cf limitation was three months. Section 534(2) being a limitation section cannot make what is not an offence. It bars the right to prosecute for what is already an offence under some other section of the law.
2a. It has been rightly pointed out by Mr. Basu on behalf of the Calcutta Corporation that this bar of limitation causes a great deal of difficulty to the Corporation which has numerous license holders liable to prosecution. For a big Corporation like the Calcutta Corporation a period of limitation for three months is quite inadequate. This question deserves serious attention from the Government as to the difficulties of the Corporation in the way of prosecution and to the necessity of having a longer period of limitation for the purpose of prosecuting offenders. But so long as the period of limitation is not extended the learned Magistrate's order must be upheld.
3. The result is that the Rule is discharged.