Decided on May 12,1971



Kondaiah, J. - (1.) When this criminal appeal came up for hearing, a preliminary objection pertaining to the maintainability of the appeal was raised by Sri G. Krishna Reddy, the learned Counsel appearing for the respondents, on the ground that it was barred by limitation and there was no sufficient cause within the meaning of section 5 of the Limitation Act, to condone the delay of 12 days in presenting the appeal.
(2.) The learned Additional Public Prosecutor contended that the appeal was presented in time and in any event, the delay, if any, was bonafide and not due to wilful default or neglect and urged for condonation of the same.
(3.) In order to appreciate the respective contentions of the parties, it is necessary to refer briefly to the material facts: The Judgment in Sessions Case No. 41 of 1968 acquitting all the accused of the charges levelled against them, which is the subject- matter of this appeal, was pronounced by the learned Sessions Judge, Warangal, on 10th April, 1969. A true copy of the judgment was supplied under ruler 45 of the Criminal Rules of Practice to the Police Department by the District and Sessions Court on 22nd April, 1969. It was sent to the Superintendent of Police, C.B.C.I.D., Hyderabad on 8th May, 1969. The opinion of the Public Prosecutor, Warrangal was given on 12th June, 1969. Though the papers have been received by the Public Prosecutor, High Court, on 18th July, 1969, the appeal was in fact filed on 21st July, 1969. On an objection raised by the officer, an application, Crl. M.P.No. 1509 of 1969 to condone the delay of 12 days in presenting the appeal was filed under section 5 of the Limitation Act and it was ordered by Sharfuddin Ahmed, J., and my learned brother,- A.D.V. Reddy, J., sitting in Bench on 6th November, 1969. When the appeal came up for hearing before another Division Bench of this Court on 21st December, 1970, time was granted to the Public Prosecutor to file an affidavit explaining the delay in filing the appeal, as an objection was taken by the respondents that there was no sufficient cause for cond'oning the delay and it was contended that they were entitled to question the same at the hearing of the main appeal as the delay was condoned on 6th November, 1969 without notice to them. Pursuant to that direction, an affidavit was filed by the Sub-Inspector of Police on 31st Dscember, 1970 to the effect that there was no delay in presenting the appeal if the time taken by the Sessions Court in granting a copy of the judgment under rule 145 of the Criminal Rules of Practice, is excluded and in any event, the delay, if any, may be condoned as it was not wilfulor wanton butdue to unavoidable circumstances stated therein. Though a copy of the affidavit was served on the respondents as early as in January, 1971, no counter has so far been filed.;

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