The period of limitation is different for different types of offences. The period of limitation is –
- 6 months, if the offence is punishable with fine only.
- 1 year, if the offence is punishable with term up to 1 year.
- 3 years, if the offence is punishable with imprisonment of more than 1 year but not exceeding 3 years.
The limitation starts –
- From the date of the offence.
- Where the commission of offence was not known, from the day when the police officer or aggrieved person first comes to know of the commission of offence.
- Where the identity of the offender was not known, from the day when the identity of the person is first made known to the police officer conducting investigation or the aggrieved person.
However, under section 473, any court may take cognizance after the expiry of period of limitation, if it is satisfied, on the facts and the circumstances of the case, that the delay has been properly explained or that it is necessary to do so in the interests of justice. There is no period of limitation for taking cognizance in relation to an offence punishable with more than 3 years imprisonment.