What is the Period of Limitation for an Appeal under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898?

Article 115: [Arts. 150, 154 and 155 of the Act of 1908]:

(a) The period of limitation for an appeal under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 from a sentence of death passed by a Court of Session or by a High Court in the exercise of its original criminal jurisdiction is thirty days and the limitation commences from the date of sentence.

(b)(i) The period of limitation for an appeal under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 from any other sentence or any order not being an order of acquittal to the High Court is sixty days and time of limitation starts to run from the date of the sentence or order.

(b)(ii) The period of limitation for an appeal under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 from any other sentence or any order not being an order of acquittal to any other Court is thirty days and the time of limitation begins to run from the date of the sentence or order.

As per the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, death sentence is imposed by Sessions Judge or by the High Court in its ordinary jurisdiction. However, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 has been repealed and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has been enacted which has come into force with effect from 1st April, 1974. Under the present Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the High Court has no ordinary original criminal jurisdiction to try an offence. Under Section 374(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the appeal against the order of conviction by a High Court only in its extraordinary criminal jurisdiction lies to the Supreme Court. The High Court may try any offence under the Indian Penal Code under its extraordinary criminal jurisdiction or the jurisdiction to try cases brought to itself by transfer under Section 407(1)(iv) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Clause (a) of Art. 115 applies to appeals to death sentences only. An appeal against the sentence of death passed by the High Court has to be brought within 30 days from the date of sentence.

Section 374(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that any person convicted on a trial held by a Sessions Judge or on a trial held by any other Court in which a sentence of imprisonment for more than seven years has been passed against him or against other person convicted at the same trial may appeal to High Court. Hence the clause (b)(1) of Art. 115 would be attracted if the accused is convicted by the Sessions Judge or the Additional Sessions Judge and also by the Assistant Sessions Judge if he passes a sentence of imprisonment in that trial to any accused for more than seven years.

The period of limitation of 60 days for filing the criminal appeal to the High Court commences from the date of sentence or order under Art. 115(b)(i). The time required for copy of the order appealed from is to be excluded in terms of Section 12(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963.

When the Limitation Act, 1963 was enacted, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 was in force with effect from 1st April, 1974, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has come into force and the Art. 115(b)(ii) shall apply to the appeal to be filed to any other Court than the High Court. The main provision for appeal against any sentence or order of the Criminal Court is provided in Section 374 Cr.P.C., 1973.

Sub-section (3) of Section 374 provides that save as otherwise provided in sub-section (2), any person—

(a) Convicted on a trial held by a Metropolitan Magistrate or Assistant Session Judge or Magistrate of the 1st Class or of the 2nd Class, or

(b) Sentenced under Section 325, or

(c) In respect of whom an order has been made a sentence has been passed under Section 360 by any Magistrate, may appeal to the Court of Session.

The Court of Session has also been conferred with the appellate form under Section 373 besides Section 374 of the Cr.P.C. 1973. Under Sections 340, 452, 453 and 455 appeals ordinarily lie from the convictions by the former Courts. If such an order is passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Magistrate 1st Class or Magistrate 2nd Class, then the forum of appeal shall be the Court of Sessions and the Art. 115(b)(ii) attracts such appeals.

Under Art. 115(b)(ii) the limitation for preferring appeal to the Court of Session is 30 days which commences from the date of sentence or order. But the time required for obtaining the copy of the order appealed from is to be excluded in terms of Section 12(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963.