Limitation U/s 468 CrPC to be calculated from the alleged date of commission of the offence: Case against the actor Jeetendra quashed
Ravi Kapoor - Jeetendra Vs State of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh High Court
Cr. MMO No.: 87 of 2018
About/from the judgment:
The allegations mentioned in the FIR do not inspire any confidence and no prudent person, on the basis of allegations made in the FIR, can reach to a just conclusion that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the petitioner.
Himachal Pradesh High Court has quashed the sexual allegation case filed against the actor Jeetendra by saying that case was filed beyond limitation and that the allegations do not inspire confidence.
A bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel passed the order in the case titled as Ravi Kapoor @ Jeetendra vs State of Himachal Pradesh on 20.05.2019.
Accused was the son of the ‘X’s’ father’s sister. He was a professional Actor. ‘X’ saw the accused in family gatherings once or twice a year since she was a young child. They rarely interacted with each other directly and never without other relatives/parents. In January, 1971, when ‘X’ was about 18 years old, accused arranged with her father to have her join on the set of his movie. Accused had never spoken to her about the shooting of the film nor she had been invited personally to attend the same. These arrangements were made by the accused without ‘X’ being aware of the same. Accused arrived at her house in a Car with a driver and two male film industry colleagues. She joined the accused in the Car and they drove from New Delhi to Shimla. At Shimla, the group went directly to a hotel. There the accused took ‘X’ to a room, which had two separate beds. Being tired from the journey, she went to sleep in one of the beds, which was pushed against the Walll. Later, while she was sleeping, accused returned to the room. He joined the two beds together and therein he assaulted her with the intent to outrage her modesty, as narrated in the FIR. As per ‘X’, the accused had consumed alcohol. Thereafter, accused left her alone and both of them went to sleep silently in the room that night. Further, as per ‘X’, next morning the accused asked his driver to buy some clothes for her and take her to New Delhi.
When Jeetendra approached the High Court for quashing of the case, it observed “22. Besides this, a perusal of the contents of FIR demonstrates that same are vague and lead to only one conclusion that the allegations which have been made therein are so absurd and inherently improbable, on the basis of which, no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused”.
It further observed “There is no mention as to on the set of the shooting of which film, ‘X’ met the petitioner, which led to the occurrence of the alleged incident. ‘X’ has not stated as to who were the two male Film Industry colleagues who travelled alongwith the petitioner and ‘X’ from Delhi to Shimla in a Car. It is not mentioned therein that in which hotel, the petitioner and ‘X’ purportedly stayed”.
It also observed “25. The events which stand narrated in the FIR post occurrence of the alleged incident are also quite unbelievable and no prudent person can even reach to a just conclusion on the basis of the allegations made in the FIR that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the petitioner. There is no cogent explanation whatsoever coming forth from ‘X’ as to why the complaint was filed at such a belated stage. The reasons given in the response/synopsis do not inspire confidence, because it is hard to believe that it is only after the death of her husband and parents, ‘X’ became normal so as to be in a position to make the complaint”.
Then the High Court proceeded to quash the case by saying “Therefore, in these circumstances, where admittedly the FIR has been lodged after more than four decades as from the year when the alleged incident took place and as admittedly the punishment for committing the offence alleged against the petitioner as in the year 1971 was a maximum of two years imprisonment and further as under Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, no Court shall take cognizance of an offence after the expiry of period of limitation of three years, if offence is punishable with imprisonment for term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years, this petition deserves to be allowed and the FIR in issue deserves to be quashed and set aside. In addition, I have already held above that even otherwise, the allegations mentioned in the FIR do not inspire any confidence and no prudent person, on the basis of allegations made in the FIR, can reach to a just conclusion that there are sufficient grounds for proceeding against the petitioner”.
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