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M/s. Khulood Impex Private Limited & ors vs. The Registrar of Companies decided by Delhi High Court on 01/03/2012

The period of limitation commences from the day the offence comes to the knowledge of the complainant. Brief facts : A complaint was received by the Regional Director, Northern Region, Noida regarding irregularity/ illegality in the affairs of the Petitioner Company (M/s. Khulood Impex Private Limited). The complaint was forwarded to the Respondent/ Complainant (ROC) for it to take appropriate action. Thereafter the Respondent/Complainant vide order dated 10/10/2006 under section 234(1) of the Companies Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) called upon certain documents and details qua the Petitioner company. The Accused vide their letter dated 09.11.2006 communicated to the Respondent/ Complainant their inability to furnish the necessary details and sought time for the same. Not receiving the desired information within the time sought by the petitioners, order dated 20.11.2006 under section 234 (3A) of the Act was issued to the petitioners and again 7 days' time was sought by the Petitioners. That on examining the replies it was understood that the Petitioners were evading and neglecting to furnish the desired information and thus a show cause notice under section 234 (4)(a) was issued against the Petitioners which evoked no response. Thereafter a report under section 234 (6) of the Act was sent to the Central Government with the necessary particulars seeking advice on prosecuting the Petitioners and after examining the case the Central Government gave the go ahead for the prosecution of the Petitioners under section 234 (4)(a) of the Act. The complaint was received in the court of Ld. ACMM on 11.05.2007 and the summons issued to Petitioners on 19.05.2007. The present petition assails the order of the Ld. ACMM dated 19.05.2007 summoning the Petitioner and seeks quashing of the CC No. 938/2007 contending the cognizance taken by the Ld. ACMM to be beyond the period of limitation. Judgment: The present petition brings up an interesting question as to the commencement of the period of limitation for an offence. Section 469 CrPC establishes the date from which the period of limitation for taking cognizance of an offence ought to begin. A bare perusal of section 469 CrPC makes it amply clear that the period of limitation commences from the day the offence comes to the knowledge of the complainant. In the present case the "offence" of non-compliance with the order came to the knowledge of Respondent/ Complainant when the petitioners defaulted in furnishing the details to  the Respondent/ Complainant at the expiry of the compliance period of the Order dated 20.11.2006 under section 234 (3A). Thus the computation of the limitation shall begin from the date of expiry of the compliance period as provided vide Order dated April 20.11.2006 under section 234(3A) of the Act. The cognizance of the offence was taken on 19.05.2007 which is within the period of limitation of the alleged offence. Therefore the period of limitation begins from the day actionable knowledge is gained by the competent authority. In view of the above observations I find no merit in the present petition and the same is hereby dismissed.    
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