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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sections 138,142 of the NI Act = “Whether the complaint filed under Section 138 of the NI Act is within or beyond time as it was contended that it was not filed within one month from the date on which the cause of action arose under clause (c) of the proviso to Section 138 of the NI Act?”- “Whether for calculating the period of one month which is prescribed under Section 142(b), the period has to be reckoned by excluding the date on which the cause of action arose?”= Section 138 of the N.I. Act reads as under: “138. Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account. Where any cheque drawn by a person on an account maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money to another person from out of that account for the discharge, in whole or in part, of any debt or other liability, is returned by the bank unpaid. either because of the amount of money standing to the credit of that account is insufficient to honour the cheque or that it exceeds the amount arranged to be paid from that account by an agreement made with that bank, such person shall be deemed to have committed an offence and shall, without prejudice to any other provision of this Act, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to two years, or with fine which may extend to twice the amount of the cheque, or with both: Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply unless- (a) the cheque has been presented to the bank within a period of six months from the date on which it is drawn or within the period of its validity, whichever is earlier; (b) the payee or the holder in due course of the Cheque, as the case may be, makes a demand for the payment of the said amount of money by giving a notice in writing, to the drawer of the cheque, within thirty days of the receipt of information by him from the bank regarding the return of the cheque as unpaid; and (c) the drawer of such cheque fails to make the payment of the said amount of money to the payee or, as the case may be, to the holder in due course of the cheque, within fifteen days of the receipt of the said notice.” Section 142 of the N.I. Act reads as under: “142. Cognizance of offences: Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974 ),- (a) no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under section 138 except upon a complaint, in writing, made by the payee or, as the case may be, the holder in due course of the cheque; (b) such complaint is made within one month of the date on which the cause of action arises under clause (c) of the proviso to section 138; [Provided that the cognizance of a complaint may be taken by the Court after the prescribed period, if the complainant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not making a complaint within such period.] (c) no court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under section 138.” Sections 12(1) and (2) of the Limitation Act, 1963 reads as under: “12. Exclusion of time in legal proceedings.- (1) In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal or application, the day from which such period is to be reckoned, shall be excluded. (2) In computing the period of limitation for an appeal or an application for leave to appeal or for revision or for review of a judgment, the day on which the judgment complained of was pronounced and the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the decree, sentence or order appealed from or sought to be revised or reviewed shall be excluded.” Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 reads as under: “9. Commencement and termination of time.- (1) In any [Central Act] or Regulation made after the commencement of this Act, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of excluding the first in a series of days or any other period of time, to use the word “from”, and, for the purpose of including the last in a series of days or any other period of time, to use the word “to”. (2) This section applies also to all [Central Acts] made after the third day of January, 1868, and to all Regulations made on or after the fourteenth day of January, 1887.”= we are of the opinion that Saketh lays down the correct proposition of law. We hold that for the purpose of calculating the period of one month, which is prescribed under Section 142(b) of the N.I. Act, the period has to be reckoned by excluding the date on which the cause of action arose. We hold that SIL Import USA does not lay down the correct law. Needless to say that any decision of this Court which takes a view contrary to the view taken in Saketh by this Court, which is confirmed by us, do not lay down the correct law on the question involved in this reference. The reference is answered accordingly.

                       published in    http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40692                             
         REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1079 OF 2006


ECON ANTRI LTD.                   …          APPELLANT

           VS.

ROM INDUSTRIES LTD. & ANR.        …          RESPONDENTS


                                  JUDGMENT

(SMT.) RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI, J.

1.     On  13/10/2006,  while  granting  leave  in  Special  Leave  Petition
(Criminal) No.211 of 2005, this Court passed the following order:


      “In our view,  the  judgment  relied  upon  by  the  counsel  for  the
      appellant in  the  case  of  Saketh  India  Ltd.  &  Ors.   v.   India
      Securities Ltd. (1999) 3 SCC 1 requires  reconsideration.   Orders  of
      the Hon’ble the Chief Justice may be obtained for placing this  matter
      before a larger Bench.”


      Pursuant to the above order, this appeal is placed before us.

2.    Since the referral order states that the judgment  of  this  Court  in
Saketh India Ltd. & Ors.  v.  India Securities Ltd.[1]  (“Saketh”)  requires
reconsideration, we must first refer to the said judgment.   In  that  case,
this Court identified the question of law involved in the appeal  before  it
as under:


      “Whether the complaint filed under Section 138 of the NI Act is within  or beyond time as it was contended that it was not  filed  within  one  month from the date on which the cause of action  arose  under  clause (c) of the proviso to Section 138 of the NI Act?”




      The same question was reframed in simpler language as under:




       “Whether for calculating the period of one month which is  prescribed under Section 142(b), the period has to be reckoned by  excluding  the date on which the cause of action arose?




3.    It is pointed out to us that there is  a  variance  between  the  view
expressed by this Court on the above question in Saketh and in  SIL  Import,
USA v. Exim Aides Silk Exporters, Bangalore[2].  
We will have to  therefore
re-examine it for  the  purpose  of  answering  the  reference.   The  basic
provisions of law involved in this reference are proviso (c) to Section  138
and Section 142(b) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (“the NI Act”).

4.    Facts of Saketh  need  to  be  stated  to  understand  how  the  above
question of law arose.  But, before we turn to  the  facts,  we  must  quote
Section 138 and Section 142 of the N.I. Act.  We  must  also  quote  Section
12(1) and (2) of the Limitation Act, 1963  and  Section  9  of  the  General
Clauses Act, 1897, on which reliance is placed in Saketh.

      Section 138 of the N.I. Act reads as under:

      “138.       Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of  funds  in
      the account.    
 Where any cheque drawn by  a  person  on  an  account
      maintained by him with a banker for payment of any amount of money  to
      another person from out of that account for the discharge, in whole or
      in part, of any debt or other  liability,  is  returned  by  the  bank
      unpaid. either because of the amount of money standing to  the  credit
      of that account is insufficient  to  honour  the  cheque  or  that  it
      exceeds the amount arranged  to  be  paid  from  that  account  by  an
      agreement made with that bank, such person shall  be  deemed  to  have
      committed an  offence  and  shall,  without  prejudice  to  any  other
      provision of this Act, be punished with imprisonment for a term  which
      may be extended to two years, or with fine which may extend  to  twice
      the amount of the cheque, or with both:


      Provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply unless-


      (a)   the cheque has been presented to the bank within a period of six
      months from the date on which it is drawn or within the period of  its
      validity, whichever is earlier;


      (b)   the payee or the holder in due course of the Cheque, as the case
      may be, makes a demand for the payment of the said amount of money  by
      giving a notice in writing, to the drawer of the cheque, within thirty
      days of the receipt of information by him from the bank regarding  the
      return of the cheque as unpaid; and


      (c)   the drawer of such cheque fails to make the payment of the  said
      amount of money to the payee or, as the case may be, to the holder  in
      due course of the cheque, within fifteen days of the  receipt  of  the
      said notice.”




      Section 142 of the N.I. Act reads as under:



      “142. Cognizance of offences: 
Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in
      the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974 ),-


      (a)   no court shall take cognizance of any offence  punishable  under
      section 138 except upon a complaint, in writing, made by the payee or,
      as the case may be, the holder in due course of the cheque;


      (b)   such complaint is made within one month of the date on which the
      cause of action arises under clause (c) of the proviso to section 138;


      [Provided that the cognizance of a complaint may be taken by the Court
      after the prescribed period, if the complainant  satisfies  the  Court
      that he had sufficient cause for not making a  complaint  within  such
      period.]


      (c)   no court inferior to that of  a  Metropolitan  Magistrate  or  a
      Judicial  Magistrate  of  the  first  class  shall  try  any   offence
      punishable under section 138.”


      Sections 12(1) and (2) of the Limitation Act, 1963 reads as under:
      “12. Exclusion of time in legal proceedings.-  (1)  In  computing  the
      period of limitation for any suit, appeal or application, the day from
      which such period is to be reckoned, shall be excluded.


      (2) In computing  the  period  of  limitation  for  an  appeal  or  an
      application for leave to appeal or for revision or  for  review  of  a
      judgment, the day on which the judgment complained of  was  pronounced
      and the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the decree, sentence or
      order appealed from or sought to  be  revised  or  reviewed  shall  be
      excluded.”


      Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 reads as under:

      “9. Commencement and termination of time.-


      (1)   In any [Central Act] or Regulation made after  the  commencement
      of this Act, it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of excluding  the
      first in a series of days or any other period of time, to use the word
      “from”, and, for the purpose of including the last in a series of days
      or any other period of time, to use the word “to”.


      (2)   This section applies also to all [Central Acts] made  after  the
      third day of January, 1868, and to all Regulations made  on  or  after
      the fourteenth day of January, 1887.”

5.    In Saketh cheques dated 15/3/1995 and 16/3/1995 issued by the  accused
therein bounced when presented for encashment.  Notices were served  on  the
accused on 29/9/1995. As per proviso (c) to Section 138 of the NI  Act,  the
accused were required to make the payment of the said amount within 15  days
of the receipt of the notice i.e. on  or  before  14/10/1995.   The  accused
failed to pay  the  amount.   The  cause  of  action,  therefore,  arose  on
15/10/1995.  According  to  the  complainant  for  calculating  one  month’s
period contemplated under Section 142(b), the date ‘15/10/1995’  has  to  be
excluded.  The complaint filed on 15/11/1995 was,  therefore,  within  time.
According to the accused, however, the date on which  the  cause  of  action
arose i.e. ‘15/10/1995’ has to be included in the period of  limitation  and
thus the complaint was  barred  by  time.   The  accused,  therefore,  filed
petition under Section 482 of the Code of  Criminal  Procedure,  1973  (“the
Code”) for quashing the process issued by  the  learned  Magistrate.    That
petition was rejected by the High  Court.   Hence,  the  accused  approached
this Court.  This Court referred to its judgment in Haru Das Gupta v.  State
of West Bengal.[3] wherein it was held that the  rule  is  well  established
that where a particular time is given from a certain date  within  which  an
act is to be done, the day on that date is to be  excluded;  the  effect  of
defining the period from such a day until such a day within which an act  is
to be done is to exclude  the  first  day  and  to  include  the  last  day.
Referring to several English decisions on the  point,  this  Court  observed
that the principle of excluding the day from  which  the  period  is  to  be
reckoned is incorporated in Section 12(1) and (2)  of  the  Limitation  Act,
1963.  This Court observed that  this  principle  is  also  incorporated  in
Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897.   This  Court  further  observed
that there is no reason for not adopting the rule  enunciated  in  Haru  Das
Gupta, which is consistently followed and which is adopted  in  the  General
Clauses Act and the Limitation Act.  This Court  went  on  to  observe  that
ordinarily in computing the time, the rule observed is to exclude the  first
day and to include the last.  Following the said rule in  the  facts  before
it, this Court excluded the date ‘15/10/1995’ on which the cause  of  action
had arisen for counting the period of one month.  Saketh has  been  followed
by this Court in Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. & Anr.  v.  Ashoka Alloy  Steel
Ltd. & Ors.[4]  In Subodh S. Salaskar  v.  Jayprakash  M.  Shah  &  Anr.,[5]
there is a reference to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.

6.    We have heard learned counsel for the parties at some length. We  have
also carefully perused their written submissions. Ms. Prerna Mehta,  learned
counsel for the appellant submitted that Saketh lays down the  correct  law.
She submitted that as held by this  Court  in  Saketh  while  computing  the
period of one month as provided under Section 142(b) of the  N.I.  Act,  the
first day on which the cause of action has arisen has to be  excluded.   The
same principle is applicable in  computing  the  period  of  15  days  under
Section 138(c) of the N.I. Act.  Counsel  submitted  that  Saketh  has  been
followed by this Court in Jindal  Steel  and  Power  Ltd.    and  Subodh  S.
Salaskar. Counsel also relied on Section 12(1) of the Limitation  Act,  1961
which provides that the first day on which cause of action arises is  to  be
excluded.  In this connection counsel relied on State of Himachal Pradesh  &
Anr. v.  Himachal  Techno  Engineers  &  Anr.,[6]  where  it  is  held  that
Section 12 of the Limitation  Act  is  applicable  to  the  Arbitration  and
Conciliation Act, 1996 (for  short,  “the  Arbitration  Act"),  which  is  a
statute providing for its own period of limitation.  Counsel submitted  that
the N.I. Act is a  special  statute  and  it  does  not  expressly  bar  the
applicability of the Limitation Act.   Counsel submitted that if this  Court
reaches a conclusion that the provisions  of  the  Limitation  Act  are  not
applicable to the N.I. Act, it should hold that Section  9  of  the  General
Clauses Act, 1897 covers this  case.   Counsel  submitted  in  Tarun  Prasad
Chatterjee v. Dinanath Sharma[7] Section 12 of the Limitation  Act  is  held
to be in pari materia with Section 9 of the General  Clauses  Act.   Counsel
submitted that in the same judgment this Court has held that  use  of  words
‘from’ and ‘within’ does not reflect any contrary intention  and  the  first
day on which the cause  of  action  arises  has  to  be  excluded.   Counsel
submitted that in the circumstances this Court should hold that Saketh  lays
down correct proposition of law.

7.    Shri Sunil Gupta, learned senior counsel for the respondents,  on  the
other hand, submitted that the provisions of the  N.I.  Act  provide  for  a
criminal offence and punishment and, therefore, must be strictly  construed.
 Counsel submitted that it is well settled that  when  two  different  words
are used in the same provision or statute, they  convey  different  meaning.
[The Member, Board  of  Revenue  v.  Arthur  Paul  Benthall[8],  The  Labour
Commissioner,  Madhya  Pradesh   v.   Burhanpur  Tapti    Mills   Ltd.   and
others[9], B.R. Enterprises etc. V. State of U.P. & Ors. etc. [10],  Kailash
Nath Agarwal and ors. v. Pradeshiya Industrial & Investment  Corporation  of
U.P. Ltd. and another[11], DLF Qutab Enclave Complex Educational  Charitable
Trust  v. State  of  Haryana  and  others[12]].  Counsel  pointed  out  that
Section 138(a) provides a period of 6 months from  the  date  on  which  the
Cheque is drawn, as the period within which the Cheque is  to  be  presented
to the bank.  Section 138(b) provides that the payee must make a  demand  of
the amount due to him within 30 days of the receipt of information from  the
bank.  Section 138(c) uses the words ‘within  15  days  of  the  receipt  of
notice’. Using two different words ‘from’ and ‘of’ in the  same  Section  at
different places clarifies  the  intention  of  the  legislature  to  convey
different meanings by the said words.  According to counsel,  seen  in  this
light, the word ‘of’ occurring in Section 138(c) and Section  142(b)  is  to
be interpreted differently as against the word ‘from’ occurring  in  Section
138(a). The word ‘from’ may be taken as implying exclusion of  the  date  in
question and may well  be  governed  by   the  General  Clauses  Act,  1897.
However, the word ‘of’ is different and needs to be interpreted  to  include
the starting day of the commencement of the prescribed period.   It  is  not
governed by Section 9 of the General  Clauses  Act,  1897.   Thus,  for  the
purposes of Section 142(b), which prescribes that the  complaint  is  to  be
filed within 30 days of the date on which the cause of  action  arises,  the
starting date on which the cause of action arises  should  be  included  for
computing the period of 30 days.  Counsel  further  submitted  that  Section
138(c) and Section 142(b) prescribe the period  within  which  certain  acts
are required to be done.  Section 12(1) of  the  Limitation  Act  cannot  be
resorted to so as to extend that period even by one day.   If  the  starting
point is excluded, that will render the word ‘within’ of Section  142(b)  of
the N.I. Act otiose. Counsel submitted that the word ‘within’ has been  held
by this Court to mean  ‘on  or  before’.  [Danial  Latifi  and  Another   v.
U.O.I.[13]]  Therefore, the complaint under Section 142(b) should  be  filed
on or before or within, 30 days of the date on which  the  cause  of  action
under  Section  138(c)  arises.   Counsel  submitted  that   there   is   no
justification to exclude the 16th day of the 15  day  period  under  Section
138(c) or the first day of the 30 days period under Section  142(b)  as  has
been wrongly decided in Saketh.  This  would  amount  to  exclusion  of  the
starting date of the period.  Such exclusion has been  held  to  be  against
the law in SIL Import USA.  Counsel further submitted  that  the  provisions
of the Limitation Act are not applicable to the N.I. Act  as  held  by  this
Court in Subodh S. Salaskar.  Counsel pointed out that by  Amending  Act  55
of 2002, a proviso was added to Section 142(b) of the N.I. Act.  It  bestows
discretion upon the court to accept a complaint after the period of 30  days
and to condone the delay.  This  amendment  signifies  that  prior  to  this
amendment the courts had no discretion to condone the delay or exclude  time
by resorting to Section 5 of the Limitation Act.  The statement  of  objects
and reasons of the Amending Act 55 of 2002 confirms the legal position  that
the N.I. Act being a special statute, the Limitation Act is  not  applicable
to  it.   Counsel  submitted  that  the  judgment  of  this  Court  on   the
Arbitration Act is not applicable to this case because  Section  43  of  the
Arbitration  Act  specifically  makes  the  Limitation  Act  applicable   to
arbitrations. Counsel submitted that in view of the  above,  it  is  evident
that Saketh does not lay down the  correct  law.  It  is  SIL   Import   USA
which correctly analyses  the provisions of  law  and  lays  down  the  law.
Counsel urged that the reference be answered in light of his submissions.

8.    It is necessary to first refer to  SIL  Import   USA  on  which  heavy
reliance  is  placed  by the  respondents  as  it takes  a   view   contrary
to  the  view  taken  in  Saketh.    In  SIL  Import  USA, the  complainant-
Company’s case was that the accused owed a sum of US  $  72,075  (equivalent
to more than 26 lakhs of rupees) to it towards  the  sale  consideration  of
certain materials.  The accused gave some post-dated  Cheques  in  repayment
thereof.  Two of the said Cheques when presented on 3/5/1996 for  encashment
were dishonoured with the remark “no sufficient  funds”.    The  complainant
sent a notice to the accused by fax on 11/6/1996.  On the  next  day    i.e.
12/6/1996 the complainant also sent  the  same  notice  by  registered  post
which was served on the accused on 25/6/1996.  On 8/8/1996  the  complainant
filed a complaint under Section 138 of the  N.I.  Act.   Cognizance  of  the
offence was taken and process  was  issued.   Process  was  quashed  by  the
Magistrate on the grounds urged by the accused.  The complainant  moved  the
High Court.  The High Court set aside the Magistrate’s  order  and  restored
the complaint.  That order was challenged in this  Court.   The  only  point
which was urged before this Court was that the  Magistrate  could  not  have
taken cognizance of the offence after the expiry of 30 days  from  the  date
of cause of action.  This contention was upheld by this Court.   This  Court
held that the notice envisaged in clause (b) of the proviso to  Section  138
transmitted by fax would  be  in  compliance  with  the  legal  requirement.
There was no dispute about the fact that notice sent by fax was received  by
the complainant on the same date i.e. 11/6/1996.  This Court  observed  that
as per clause (c) of Section  138,  starting  point  of  period  for  making
payment is the date of receipt of the notice.  Once it starts,  the  offence
is completed on failure to pay the amount within 15 days  therefrom.   Cause
of action would arise if the offence is committed.  Thus, it was  held  that
since the fax was received on 11/6/1996, the period of 15  days  for  making
payment expired on 26/6/1996.   Since  amount  was  not  paid,  offence  was
committed and, therefore, cause of  action  arose  from  26/6/1996  and  the
period of limitation for filing complaint  expired  on  26/7/1996  i.e.  the
date on which period of one month  expired  as  contemplated  under  Section
142(b).  The complaint filed on 8/8/1996 was, therefore, beyond  the  period
of limitation.  The relevant observations of  this  Court  could  be  quoted
hereunder:


      “19. The High Court’s view is that the sender of the notice must  know
      the date when it was received by the sendee, for  otherwise  he  would
      not be in a position to count the period in  order  to  ascertain  the
      date when cause of  action  has  arisen.  The  fallacy  of  the  above
      reasoning is that it erases the starting date of the period of 15 days
      envisaged in clause (c). As per the said clause the starting  date  is
      the date of “the receipt of the said  notice”.  Once  it  starts,  the
      offence is completed on the failure to pay the amount within  15  days
      therefrom. Cause of action would arise if the offence is committed.


      20. If a different interpretation  is  given  the  absolute  interdict
      incorporated in Section 142 of  the  Act  that  no  court  shall  take
      cognizance of any offence unless the  complaint  is  made  within  one
      month of the date on which the cause of action  arises,  would  become
      otiose.”



9.    Undoubtedly, the view taken in SIL  Import  USA runs  counter  to  the
view taken in Saketh. What persuaded this Court in Saketh to take  the  view
that in computing time, the rule is to exclude the  first  day  and  include
the last can be understood if we have a look  at  the  English  cases  which
have been referred to in the passage quoted therein from Haru Das Gupta.

10.   We must first  refer  to  The  Goldsmiths’  Company    v.    The  West
Metropolitan Railway Company.[14] In that  case,  under  a  special  Act,  a
railway company was empowered to take lands compulsorily for the purpose  of
its undertaking, and the powers of the company  for  this  purpose  were  to
cease after the expiration of three years from the passing of the Act.   The
Act received the Royal assent on 9/8/1899.  On 9/8/1902 the railway  company
gave notice to the plaintiffs to treat for the purchase of  lands  belonging
to them which were scheduled in the special Act.  The question  was  whether
the notice was served on the plaintiffs within three  years.   It  was  held
that the notice was served within the prescribed time  because  the  day  of
the passing of the Act i.e. 9/8/1899  had  to  be  excluded.   The  relevant
observations of the Court may be quoted as under:
           “The true principle that governs this case is that indicated  in
           the report of Lester  v.  Garland[15], where Sir  William  Grant
           broke away from the line of cases supporting the view that there
           was a general rule that in cases where time is to run  from  the
           doing of an act or the happening of an event the  first  day  is
           always to be included in the computation of the time.  The  view
           expressed by Sir William Grant was  repeated  by  Parke  B.   in
           Russell   v.  Ledsam[16],  and by  other  judges  in  subsequent
           cases.  The rule is now well established that where a particular
           time is given, from a certain date, within which an act is to be
           done, the day of the date is to be excluded.”

 11.   The second case referred to  is   Cartwright    v.    MacCormack[17].
In that  case,  the  plaintiffs  met  with  an  accident  at  5.45  p.m.  on
17/12/1959. He was run into by  the  defendant  driving  a  motor  car.   He
issued his writ in this  action  claiming  damages  for  personal  injuries.
The defendant initiated  third  party  proceedings  against  the  respondent
insurance company, alleging the company’s liability to indemnify  him  under
an instrument called  a  temporary  cover  note  admittedly  issued  by  the
insurance  company  on  2/12/1959.    The  insurance  company   inter   alia
contended that the policy had expired  before  the  accident  happened.  The
insurance company  succeeded  on  this  point.    On  appeal  the  insurance
company reiterated that the cover  note  issued  by  the  insurance  company
contained the expression ‘fifteen days from  the  date  of  commencement  of
policy’. On the same note date and time were noted as  2/12/1959  and  11.45
a.m.  It was  argued  that  the  fifteen  days  started  at  11.45  a.m.  on
2/12/1959 and  expired  at  the  same  time  on  17/12/1959.   The  accident
occurred at 5.45 p.m. on 17/12/1959 and, therefore, it was  not  covered  by
the insurance policy.   The Court of Appeal treated the expression  ‘fifteen
days from the commencement of the policy’ as excluding the  first  date  and
the cover note was held to commence  at  midnight  of  that  date.   It  was
observed that the policy expired  fifteen  days  from  2/12/1959  and  these
words on the ordinary rules of  construction  exclude  the  first  date  and
begin at midnight on  that  day,  therefore,  the  policy  would  cover  the
accident which had occurred at 5.45 p.m. on 17/12/1959.

12.   The third  case  referred  to  is  Marren  v.  Dawson  Bentley  &  Co.
Ltd.[18]. In that  case  on  8/11/1954  an  accident  occurred  whereby  the
plaintiff was injured in the course of his employment with  the  defendants.
On 8/11/1957, he issued a writ claiming damages for the  injuries  which  he
alleged were caused by the defendants’ negligence.  The defendants  pleaded,
inter alia, that the  plaintiff’s  cause  of  action,  if  any,  accrued  on
8/11/1954 and the proceedings had not been commenced within  the  period  of
three years thereof contrary to Section 2(1) of the  Limitation  Act,  1939.
It was held that the day of  the  accident  was  to  be  excluded  from  the
computation of the period within which the action  should  be  brought  and,
therefore, the defendants’ plea must fail.  While coming to this  conclusion
reliance was placed on passages from Halsbury’s laws of England[19].  It  is
necessary to quote those passages:


      “207. The general rule in cases in which  a  period  is  fixed  within
      which a person must act or take the consequences is that  the  day  of
      the act or event from which the period  runs  should  not  be  counted
      against him. This rule is especially reasonable in the case  in  which
      that person is not necessarily cognisant of  the  act  or  event;  and
      further in support of it there is the consideration that in  case  the
      period allowed was one day only, the consequence of including that day
      would be to reduce to a few hours or minutes the time within which the
      person affected should take action.


      208. In view of these considerations the general rule is that, as well
      in cases where the limitation of time is imposed by the act of a party
      as in those where it is imposed by statute, the  day  from  which  the
      time begins to run is excluded; thus, where a period is  fixed  within
      which a criminal prosecution or a civil action may be  commenced,  the
      day on which the offence is committed or the cause of action arises is
      excluded in the computation.”




      Reliance  was  also  placed  in  this   judgment   on   Radcliffe   v.
Bartholomew[20].  In that case on June 30 an information  was  laid  against
the appellant therein in respect of an act of cruelty alleged to  have  been
committed by him on May 30. An objection was taken on the  ground  that  the
complaint had not been made within one calendar month  after  the  cause  of
the complaint had arisen.  It was held that the day  on  which  the  alleged
offence was committed was  to  be  excluded  from  the  computation  of  the
calendar month  within  which  the  complaint  was  to  be  made;  that  the
complaint was, therefore, made in time.

13.   The fourth case referred to is Stewart v. Chapman[21].  In that  case,
an information was preferred by a police constable that Mr. Chapman  had  on
11/1/1951 driven a motor car along a road without  due  care  and  attention
contrary to Section 12 of  the  Road  Traffic  Act,  1930.   At  hearing,  a
preliminary objection was taken that the notice of intended prosecution  had
not been served on the defendant  within  fourteen  days  of  commission  of
offence in accordance with  Section  21  of  the  Road  Traffic  Act,  1930,
inasmuch as although the alleged offence  was  committed  at  7.15  a.m.  on
11/1/1951, the prosecutor did not send the notice  of  intended  prosecution
by registered post; until 1.00 p.m. on 11/1/1951 and it  was  not  delivered
to the defendant until 25/1/1951 at about  8.00  a.m.  This  submission  was
rejected observing that in calculating the period of  fourteen  days  within
which the notice of an intended prosecution must be served under Section  21
of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, the date of commission of the offence  is  to
be excluded.


14.   In re. North. Ex parte Hasluck[22], the  execution  creditor  obtained
judgment  on  19/5/1893.   An  order  was  made  authorizing  sale  of   the
bankrupt’s goods.  The purchase money thereunder was paid to the sheriff  on
July 18.  The sheriff retained the money for  fourteen  days  in  compliance
with Section 11 of the Bankruptcy Act, 1890.  In August,  the  solicitor  of
the execution creditor paid over the said money to the  execution  creditor.
Application was filed by the trustee in  bankruptcy  for  an  order  calling
upon the execution creditor and his solicitor to pay over  to  the  trustee,
the proceeds of an execution against the  bankruptcy  goods  on  the  ground
that at the time of the sale they had notice of prior act of  bankruptcy  on
the part of the bankrupt.  Under Section 1 of the Bankruptcy  Act,  1890,  a
debtor commits an act of  bankruptcy  if  execution  against  him  has  been
levied by seizure of his goods, and the goods have been held by the  sheriff
for twenty one days.  The time limit of twenty one days was an allowance  of
time to the debtor within which to redeem if he can.   It  was  under  these
circumstances it became necessary to ascertain whether there was,  in  fact,
a holding by the sheriff for twenty one days prior to the  sale.   If  there
was, then neither the execution creditor, nor his solicitor could  be  heard
to say that they had no notice of such possession and the act of  bankruptcy
thereby constituted. Vaughan Williams,  J.  held  that  if  the  goods  were
seized on June 27 and sold on July 18, if June 27 is excluded, there was  no
holding by the sheriff for 21 days and consequently  there  was  no  act  of
bankruptcy and therefore execution creditor is not bound to  hand  over  the
money on  the  ground  that  he  received  it  with  notice  of  an  act  of
bankruptcy.  On appeal the same view was reiterated.  Rigby L.J referred  to
Lester v. Garland[23]  where Sir W. Grant expressed that if  there  were  to
be a general  rule,  it  ought  to  be  one  of  exclusion,  as  being  more
reasonable than one to the opposite effect.

15.   We shall now turn to Haru Das Gupta, where  this  Court  has  followed
the law laid down in the above judgments.   In  that  case,  the  petitioner
therein  was  arrested  and  detained  on  5/2/1971  by  order  of  District
Magistrate passed on that day.  The order of confirmation and  continuation,
which has to be passed within three months from the date of  detention,  was
passed on 5/5/1971.  The question for decision was as to when the period  of
three months can  be  said  to  have  expired.   It  was  contended  by  the
petitioner that the period of  three  months  expired  on  the  midnight  of
4/5/1971, and any confirmation  and  continuation  of  detention  thereafter
would not be valid.  This Court referred to  several  English  decisions  on
the point apart from  the  above  decisions  and  rejected  this  submission
holding that the day of commencement of detention namely 5/2/1971 has to  be
excluded.  Relevant observations of this could read as under:

       “These decisions show that courts have drawn a distinction between a
       term created within which an act may be done and a time limited  for
       the doing of an act. The  rule  is  well-established  that  where  a
       particular time is given from a certain date within which an act  is
       to be done, the day on that date is to be excluded. (See  Goldsmiths
       Company v. the West Metropolitan Railway  Company).  This  rule  was
       followed in Cartwright v. Maccormack where the  expression  “fifteen
       days from the date of commencement of the policy” in  a  cover  note
       issued by an insurance company was construed as excluding the  first
       date and the cover note to commence at midnight  of  that  day,  and
       also in Marren v. Damson Bentley & Co. Ltd. a case for  compensation
       for injuries  received  in  the  course  of  employment,  where  for
       purposes of computing the period  of  limitation  the  date  of  the
       accident, being the date of the cause of action, was excluded.  (See
       also Stewart v. Chadman and In re North, Ex parte Wasluck). Thus, as
       a general rule the effect of defining a period from such a day until
       such a day within which an act is to be done is to exclude the first
       day and to include the last day. [See Halsbury’s  Laws  of  England,
       (3rd Edn.). Vol. 37, pp. 92 and 95.] There  is  no  reason  why  the
       aforesaid rule of construction followed consistently and for so long
       should not also be applied here.”



16.   We have extensively referred to Saketh.  The reasoning of  this  Court
in Saketh  based on the above English decisions  and decision of this  Court
in  Haru Das Gupta which aptly lay  down  and  explain  the  principle  that
where a particular time is given from a certain date  within  which  an  act
has to be done, the day of the date is to be excluded,  commends  itself  to
us as against the reasoning of this Court in SIL Import USA  where there  is
no reference to the said decisions.


17.   It was submitted that in Saketh  this  Court  has  erroneously  placed
reliance on Section 12(1) and (2) of the Limitation Act,  1963.  Section  12
(1)  states that in computing the period of limitation for any suit,  appeal
or application, the day from which such period is to be reckoned,  shall  be
excluded. In Section 12(2) the  same  principle  is  extended  to  computing
period of limitation for an application for leave to appeal or for  revision
or for review of a judgment. Our attention was drawn to Subodh  S.  Salaskar
wherein this Court has held that the Limitation Act, 1963 is not  applicable
to the N.I. Act.   It is true that in Subodh S.  Salaskar,  this  Court  has
held that the Limitation Act, 1963  is  not  applicable  to  the  N.I.  Act.
However even if the Limitation Act, 1963 is held not applicable to the  N.I.
Act, the conclusion reached in Saketh could still be reached  with  the  aid
of Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897.  Section  9  of  the  General
Clauses Act, 1897 states that in any Central Act or  Regulation  made  after
the commencement of the General Clauses Act, 1897, it  shall  be  sufficient
to use the word ‘from’ for the purpose of excluding the first  in  a  series
of days or any other period of time  and  to  use  the  word  ‘to’  for  the
purpose of including the last in a series of days or  any  other  period  of
time. Sub-Section (2) of Section 9 of the General Clauses Act,  1897  states
that this Section applies to all Central Acts made after the  third  day  of
January, 1868, and to all Regulations made on or after  the  fourteenth  day
of January, 1887.  This Section would, therefore, be applicable to the  N.I.
Act.

18.   Counsel, however, submitted that using two different words ‘from’  and
‘of’ in Section 138 at different  places  clarifies  the  intention  of  the
legislature to convey different meanings by the said  words.   He  submitted
that the word ‘of’ occurring in Sections 138(c) and 142(b) of the  N.I.  Act
is to be interpreted differently as against the  word  ‘from’  occurring  in
Section 138(a) of the N.I. Act.  The word ‘from’ may be  taken  as  implying
exclusion of the date in question and that  may  well  be  governed  by  the
General Clauses Act, 1897.  However, the word ‘of’ is  different  and  needs
to be interpreted to include the starting day of  the  commencement  of  the
prescribed period.  It is not governed by Section 9 of the  General  Clauses
Act 1897.  Thus, according to learned counsel, for the purposes  of  Section
142(b), which prescribes that the complaint is to be filed  within  30  days
of the date on which the cause of action arises, the starting date on  which
the cause of action arises should be included for computing  the  period  of
30 days.


19.   We are not impressed by his submission.  In this  connection,  we  may
refer to  Tarun  Prasad  Chatterjee.   Though,  this  case  relates  to  the
provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (for short ‘the  RP
Act, 1951’), the principle laid down therein would have  a  bearing  on  the
present case.   What is important to bear in mind  is  that  the  Limitation
Act is not applicable to it. In that case the short  question  involved  was
whether in computing the period of limitation as provided in  Section  81(1)
of the RP Act, 1951, the date of election of the returned  candidate  should
be excluded or not.  The appellant was declared elected on  28/11/1998.   On
12/1/1999, the respondent filed an election petition under Section 81(1)  of
the RP Act, 1951 challenging the election of the appellant.   The  appellant
filed an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC  read  with  Section
81 of the RP Act, 1951 praying that the election petition was liable  to  be
dismissed at the threshold as not maintainable as  the  same  had  not  been
filed within 45 days from the date of election of  the  returned  candidate.
While dealing with this issue, this Court referred to Section  67-A  of  the
RP Act, 1951 which states that for the purpose of the RP Act, 1951 the  date
on which a candidate is declared by the returning officer under  Section  53
or Section 66 to be elected shall be the date of election of the  candidate.
 As  stated  earlier,  the  appellant  was  declared  elected  as  per  this
provision by the returning officer on 28/11/1998.   Section  81  of  the  RP
Act, 1951 which relates to presentation of petition reads thus:


      “81.  Presentation of petitions. — (1) An election petition calling in
      question any election may be presented on one or more of  the  grounds
      specified in sub-section (1) of Section 100 and  Section  101  to  the
      High Court by any candidate at such election  or  any  elector  within
      forty-five days from, but not earlier than the date of election of the
      returned candidate or if there are more than one returned candidate at
      the election and dates of their election are different, the  later  of
      those two dates.


      Explanation.—In this sub-section, ‘elector’ means  a  person  who  was
      entitled to vote at  the  election  to  which  the  election  petition
      relates, whether he has voted at such election or not.

                                *     *     *


      (3)   Every election petition shall be accompanied by as  many  copies
      thereof as there are respondents mentioned in the petition  and  every
      such copy shall be attested by the petitioner under his own  signature
      to be a true copy of the petition.”


      Before analyzing this provision, this Court made it clear that it  was
an accepted position that the Limitation Act had no application  to  the  RP
Act, 1951.   This Court then referred to sub-clause (1) of Section 9 of  the
General Clauses Act, 1897, which states that it shall be sufficient for  the
purpose of excluding the first in a series of days or any  other  period  of
time to use the words ‘from’ and for the purpose  of  including  last  in  a
series of days or any other period of time  to  use  the  word  ‘to’.   This
Court observed that Section  9  gives  statutory  recognition  to  the  well
established  principle  applicable  to  the  construction  of  statute  that
ordinarily in computing the period of time prescribed, the rule observed  is
to exclude the first and include  the  last  day.   This  Court  quoted  the
relevant provisions of Halsbury’s Laws of England, 37th Edn., Vol.3, p.  92.
 We deem it appropriate to quote the same.


      “Days included or excluded — When a period  of  time  running  from  a
      given day or even to another day or event  is  prescribed  by  law  or
      fixed as contract, and the question arises whether the computation  is
      to be made inclusively or exclusively of the first-mentioned or of the
      last-mentioned day, regard must be had  to  the  context  and  to  the
      purposes for which the computation has to be made. Where there is room
      for doubt, the enactment or instrument ought to be so construed as  to
      effectuate and not to defeat the intention of  Parliament  or  of  the
      parties, as the case may be. Expressions such as ‘from such a day’  or
      ‘until such a day’ are equivocal, since they  do  not  make  it  clear
      whether the inclusion or  the  exclusion  of  the  day  named  may  be
      intended. As a general rule, however, the effect of defining a  period
      in such a manner is to exclude the first day and to include  the  last
      day.”


      The further observations made by this Court are pertinent and need  to
be quoted:


      “12.  Section 9 says that in any Central Act or regulation made  after
      the commencement of  the  General  Clauses  Act,  1897,  it  shall  be
      sufficient for the purpose of excluding the first in a series of  days
      or any other period of time, to use the  word  “from”,  and,  for  the
      purpose of including the last in a series of days  or  any  period  of
      time, to use the word “to”. The principle is that  when  a  period  is
      delimited by statute or rule, which has both a beginning  and  an  end
      and the word “from” is used indicating the beginning, the opening  day
      is to be excluded and if the last day is to be included the word  “to”
      is to be used. In order to exclude the first day of  the  period,  the
      crucial thing to be noted is  whether  the  period  of  limitation  is
      delimited by a series of days or by any fixed period. This is intended
      to obviate the difficulties or inconvenience that  may  be  caused  to
      some parties. For instance, if a policy of insurance has  to  be  good
      for one day from 1st January, it might be valid only for a  few  hours
      after its execution and the party or the beneficiary in the  insurance
      policy would not get reasonable time to lay claim, unless 1st  January
      is excluded from the period of computation.”


      It was argued in that case that the language  used  in  Section  81(1)
that “within forty-five  days  from,  but  not  earlier  than  the  date  of
election of the returned candidate”  expresses  a  different  intention  and
Section 9 of the General Clauses Act has no  application.   While  rejecting
this submission, this Court observed that:


      “We do not find any force  in  this  contention.  In  order  to  apply
      Section 9, the first condition to be fulfilled is whether a prescribed
      period is fixed “from” a particular point. When the period  is  marked
      by terminus a quo and terminus ad quem, the  canon  of  interpretation
      envisaged in Section 9 of the General Clauses  Act,  1897  require  to
      exclude the first day. The words “from” and “within” used  in  Section
      81(1) of the RP Act, 1951 do not express any contrary intention.”

      This Court concluded that a conjoint reading of Section 81(1)  of  the
RP Act, 1951 and Section 9 of the General Clauses Act,  1897  leads  to  the
conclusion that the first day of the period of limitation is required to  be
excluded for the convenience of the parties.  This Court  observed  that  if
the declaration of the result is done late in the night,  the  candidate  or
elector would hardly get any time for  presentation  of  election  petition.
Law comes to the rescue of such parties to give full forty-five days  period
for filing the election petition. In the facts before it since the  date  of
election of the returned candidate was  28/11/1998,  the  election  petition
filed on 12/1/1999 on exclusion of the first day from computing  the  period
of limitation, was held to be in time.

20.   As the Limitation Act is held  to  be  not  applicable  to  N.I.  Act,
drawing parallel from Tarun Prasad Chatterjee  where the Limitation Act  was
held not applicable, we are of the opinion that with the aid  of  Section  9
of the General Clauses Act, 1897 it can be safely concluded  in the  present
case that while calculating the period of  one  month  which  is  prescribed
under Section 142(b) of the N.I. Act, the  period  has  to  be  reckoned  by
excluding the date on which the cause of action arose.  It is  not  possible
to agree with the counsel for the  respondents  that  the  use  of  the  two
different  words  ‘from’  and  ‘of’  in  Section  138  at  different  places
indicates the intention of the legislature to convey different  meanings  by
the said words.


21.    In this connection we may also usefully refer to the judgment of  the
Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in  Vasantlal  Ranchhoddas  Patel  &
Ors.   v. Union of India & Ors.[24] which  is  approved  by  this  Court  in
Gopaldas Udhavdas Ahuja and another   v.  Union  of  India  and  others[25],
though in different context.  In that case the premises  of  the  appellants
were searched by the  officers  of  the  Enforcement  Directorate.   Several
packets  containing  diamonds  were  seized.    The   appellants   made   an
application, for return of the diamonds, to the  learned  Magistrate,  which
was rejected.  Similar prayer made to the Single Judge of  the  Bombay  High
Court was also rejected.  An appeal was carried by  the  appellants  to  the
Division Bench of the Bombay High Court.   It was  pointed  out  that  under
Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962, no order  confiscating  any  goods  or
imposing any penalty on any person shall be made unless  the  owner  of  the
goods or such person is given a notice in writing with  the  prior  approval
of the officer of customs not below the rank of  an  Assistant  Commissioner
of Police, informing  him  of  the  grounds  on  which  it  is  proposed  to
confiscate the goods or to impose a penalty.   Under Section 110(1)  of  the
Customs Act, 1962 a proper officer, who  has  reason  to  believe  that  any
goods  are  liable  to  confiscation  may  seize  such  goods.   Under  sub-
Section(2) of Section 110 of the Customs Act,  1962,  where  any  goods  are
seized under sub-Section (1) and no  notice  in  respect  thereof  is  given
under clause (a) of Section 124 within six months  of  the  seizure  of  the
goods, the goods shall be returned  to  the  person  from  whose  possession
they were seized.  Under proviso to Section 110, sub-section  (2),  however,
the Collector could extend the period of  six  months  on  sufficient  cause
being shown.  It was argued that the Customs Officers had seized  the  goods
within the meaning of Section 110 of the  Customs  Act,  1962  on  4/9/1964.
The notice contemplated under Section 124(a) was given after 3/3/1965,  that
is after the period of six  months  had  expired.  As  per  Section  110(2),
notice contemplated under Section 124(a) of the Customs Act, 1962 had to  be
given within six months of the seizure of the goods, and, therefore,  notice
issued after the expiry of six  months  was  bad  in  law  and,  hence,  the
Collector of Customs was not competent to extend the period  of  six  months
under the proviso to  sub-section  (2)  of  Section  110  as  he  had  done.
Therefore, no order confiscating the goods or imposing  penalty  could  have
been made and the goods had to  be  returned  to  the  appellants.   It  was
argued that Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897  has  no  application
because the words ‘from’ and  ‘to’   found  in  Section  9  of  the  General
Clauses Act, 1897 are not used in  sub-Section  2  of  Section  110  of  the
Customs Act, 1962.  This submission  was  rejected  and  Section  9  of  the
General Clauses Act, 1897 was held  applicable.    Speaking  for  the  Bench
Chainani, C.J. observed as under:


      “… … …The principle underlying section 9 has been applied even in  the
      cases of judicial orders passed by Courts, even though  in  terms  the
      section is not applicable, See. Ramchandra Govind v. Laxman  Savleram,
      AIR 1938 Bom 447, Dharamraj v Addl. Deputy Commr., Akola, AIR 1957 Bom
      154, Puranchand v. Mohd Din. AIR 1935 Lah 291, Marakanda Sahu  v.  Lal
      Sadananda, AIR 1952 Orissa 279, and Liquidator  Union  Bank,  Mal,  v.
      Padmanabha Menon, (1954) 2 Mad LJ 44.The material words in sub-s.  (2)
      of section 110 are "within six months of the seizure of the goods". In
      such provisions the word "of"  has  been  held  to  be  equivalent  to
      "from": see Willims v. Burgess and Walcot, (1840) 12 Ad and El 635. In
      that case section 1 of the relevant statute enacted that  warrants  of
      attorney shall be filed "within twenty-one days after  the  execution.
      Section 2 enacted that unless they were "filed as aforesaid within the
      said space of twenty-one  days  from  the  execution,  "they  and  the
      judgment thereon shall be void subject to the conditions specified  in
      the section. The warrant of attorney was  executed  on  9th  December,
      1839 and it was filed, and judgment entered up on the  30th  December.
      It was held that in computing  the  period  of  21  days  the  day  of
      execution must be excluded, Reliance was placed on  Ex  parte  Fallon,
      (1793) 5 Term Rep 283 in which the word used was "of" and not  "from".
      It was observed that "of", "from" and "'after" really meant  the  same
      thing and that no distinction could be suggested from  the  nature  of
      the two provisions. In Stroud's  Judicial  Dictionary,  Vol.  3,  1953
      Edition in Note (5) under the word "of", it  has  been  observed  that
      "of" is sometimes the equivalent of "after" e.g.,  in  the  expression
      "within 21 days of the execution". The principle underlying section  9
      of  the  General  Clauses  Act  cannot  therefore,  be  held   to   be
      inapplicable, merely because the  word  used  in  sub-section  (2)  of
      section 110 is "of" and not "from".

      Relevant extracts from Halsbury’s laws  of  England[26]  were  quoted.
They read as under:


      “The general rule in cases in which a period is fixed within  which  a
      person must act or take the consequences is that the day of the act or
      event from which the period runs should not be counted against him.


      This general rule applies irrespective of whether  the  limitation  of
      time is imposed by the act of a party or by  statute;  thus,  where  a
      period is fixed within which a criminal prosecution or a civil  action
      may be commenced, the day on which the offence  is  committed  or  the
      cause of action arises is excluded in the computation.”

      In the circumstances, it was held that the  day  on  which  the  goods
were seized has to  be  excluded  in  computing  the  period  of  limitation
contemplated under sub-section (2) of Section 110 and therefore  the  notice
was issued within the period of limitation.  It is pertinent  to  note  that
under Section 110 (2) of the Customs Act, notice had to be given within  six
months of the seizure of the goods.  Similarly, under Section 142(b) of  the
N.I. Act, the complaint has to be made within  one  month  of  the  date  of
which cause of action arose.  The view taken in Vasantlal Ranchhoddas  Patel
meets with our approval.


22.   In view of the above, it is not possible to hold that  the  word  ‘of’
occurring in Section 138(c) and 142(b) of the N.I. Act is to be  interpreted
differently as against the word ‘from’ occurring in Section  138(a)  of  the
N.I. Act; and that for the purposes  of  Section  142(b),  which  prescribes
that the complaint is to be filed within 30 days of the date  on  which  the
cause of action arises, the starting  day  on  which  the  cause  of  action
arises should be included for computing the period of 30 days.  As  held  in
Ex parte Fallon[27] the words ‘of’, ‘from’  and  ‘after’  may,  in  a  given
case,  mean  really  the  same  thing.   As  stated  in  Stroud’s   Judicial
Dictionary, Vol. 3 1953 Edition,  Note  (5),  the  word  ‘of’  is  sometimes
equivalent of ‘after’.

23.   Reliance placed on Danial Latifi  is totally misplaced.  In that  case
the  Court  was  concerned  with  Section  3(1)(a)  of  the   Muslim   Women
(Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.  Section 3(1)(a) provides  that
a divorced woman shall be entitled to a reasonable and  fair  provision  and
maintenance to be made and paid to  her  within  the  Iddat  period  by  her
former husband.  This provision is entirely different  from  Section  142(b)
of the N.I. Act, which provides that the complaint is  to  be  made  ‘within
one month of the date on which  the  cause  of  action  arises’.   (emphasis
supplied).

24.   We may, at this stage, note that learned  counsel  for  the  appellant
relied on State of Himachal Pradesh  where, while considering  the  question
of computation of three  months’  limitation  period  and  further  30  days
within which the challenge to the award is  to  be  filed,  as  provided  in
Section 34(3) and proviso thereto of the Arbitration Act,  this  Court  held
that having regard to Section 12(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963 and  Section
9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, day from which  such  period  is  to  be
reckoned is to be excluded for calculating limitation.
It was  pointed  out
by counsel for the respondents that Section 43 of the Arbitration Act  makes
the Limitation Act, 1963 applicable to the Arbitration  Act  whereas  it  is
held to be not applicable to the N.I.  Act  and,  therefore,  this  judgment
would not be applicable to the present case.   We have noted  that  in  this
case reliance is not merely placed on Section 12(1) of the  Limitation  Act.
Reliance is also placed on Section 9 of the General Clauses  Act.  
However,
since, in the instant case we have reached a  conclusion  on  the  basis  of
Section 9 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and on the basis of a  long  line
of English decisions that where a particular time is given, from  a  certain
date, within which an act is to be done, the  day  of  the  date  is  to  be
excluded, it is not necessary to discuss whether State of  Himachal  Pradesh
is applicable to this case or not because Section 12(1)  of  the  Limitation
Act is relied upon therein.


25.   Having considered the question of law involved in this case in  proper
perspective, in light of relevant judgments,
we  are  of  the  opinion  that
Saketh lays down the correct proposition of  law.  
We  hold  that  for  the
purpose of calculating the period of one month, which  is  prescribed  under Section 142(b) of the N.I. Act, the period has to be reckoned  by  excluding the date on which the cause of action arose.  
We hold that  SIL  Import  USA does not lay down the correct law.  
Needless to say  that  any  decision  of this Court which takes a view contrary to the view taken in Saketh  by  this Court, which is confirmed by us, do not lay down  the  correct  law  on  the
question  involved  in  this   reference.    
The   reference   is   answered accordingly.



                                                       …………………………………………..CJI
                               (P. SATHASIVAM)






                                                       ……………………………………………..J.
                                                     (RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)






                                                       ……………………………………………..J.
                               (RANJAN GOGOI)
NEW DELHI,
AUGUST 26, 2013
-----------------------
[1]    (1999) 3 SCC 1
[2]    (1999) 4 SCC 567
[3]    (1972) 1 SCC 639
[4]    (2006) 9 SCC 340
[5]    (2008)13 SCC 689
[6]    (2010) 12 SCC 210
[7]    (2000) 8 SCC 649
[8]    AIR 1956 SC 35
[9]    AIR 1964 SC 1687
[10]   (1999) 9 SCC 700
[11]   (2003) 4 SCC 305
[12]   (2003) 5 SCC 622
[13]   (2001) 7 SCC 740
[14]   (1904) 1 K.B, at p. 1, 5
[15]   15 Ves. 248; 10 R. R. 68
[16]   14 M. & W. 574
[17]   [1963] 1 All E.R.  11
[18]   (1961) 2Q.B. 135
[19]   2nd ed., vol. 32 p. 142
[20]   (1892) 1 Q.B.161
[21]   (1951) 2 KB 792
[22]   (1895) 2 Q.B. 264
[23]   15 Ves. 248
[24]   AIR 1967 Bombay 138
[25]   (2004) 7 SCC 33
[26]   3rd  Edn., vol. 37 p. 95
[27]    (1793) 5 Term Rep 283

-----------------------
38


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