(b) The period of limitation for an appeal from an order of acquittal under sub-section (3) of Section 147 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 is thirty days and the limitation starts to run from the date of the grant of special leave. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 has been repealed and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has been enacted which has come into force with effect from 1st April, 1974. The provision relating to appeal against acquittal is now provided in Section 378 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Now Article 114(a) will govern the period of limitation for appeal against acquittal by public prosecutor for appeals under subsection (1) and sub-section (2) of Section 378 and Art.
114(b) by the complainant on obtaining special leave from the High Court under sub-section (4) of Section 378. Section 378 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as amended by Act 45 of 1978 reads as follows: “378. Appeal in case of acquittal: (1) Save as otherwise provided in sub-section (2) and subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3) and (5), the State Government may, in any case, direct the public prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court from an original or appellate order of acquittal passed by a Court other than a High Court or an order of acquittal passed by the Court of Session in revision. (2) If such an order of acquittal is passed in any case in which the offence has been investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 or by any other agency empowered to make investigation into an offence under any Central Act other than this Code, the Central Government may also direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal, subject to the provision of sub-section (3), to the High Court from the order of acquittal. (3) No appeal under sub-section (1) of sub-section (2) shall be entertained except with the leave of the High Court. (4) If such an order of acquittal is passed in any case instituted upon the complaint and the High Court, on an application made to it by the complainant in this behalf, grants special leave to appeal from the order of acquittal, the complainant may present such an appeal to the High Court. (5) No application under sub-section (4), for the grant of special leave to appeal from an order of acquittal shall be entertained by the High Court after the expiry of six months, where the complainant is a public servant, and sixty days in every other case, computed from the date of that order of acquittal. (6) If, in any case, the application under sub-section (4) for the grant of special leave to appeal from an order of acquittal is refused, no appeal from that order of acquittal shall lie under sub-section (1) or under subsection (2).
” In State of Rajasthan v. Ramdeen, (AIR 1977 SC 1328), it has been held that in view of sub-section (3) of Section 378, no appeal either under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 378 can be filed without the leave of the High Court. So, without such application for the leave of the High Court, no appeal against acquittal can be entertained by the High Court. It is not necessary to submit application for leave first and get the grant by the High Court.
A composite application may be made, giving necessary facts and grounds of appeal, with a prayer for leave to appeal. It is only the State Government under sub-section (1) or the Central Government under sub-section (2) may direct the public prosecutor to prefer such appeal. No private complainant has the right to prefer appeal against acquittal in a case instituted on a police report. Appeal can be filed against the order of acquittal passed in revision by the Court of Session. In a case investigated by the Central agency, either the Central Government or the State Government may direct the public prosecutor to prefer appeal against acquittal. In State of Bihar v.
Ram Naresh Singh, [1975 Cr. LJ 1000 (Pat.)], it has been held that where an order of acquittal is passed in a case otherwise than on complaint the public prosecutor has to prefer appeal along-with the petition for leave within 90 days of the date of order of acquittal. The complainant can prefer appeal against the acquittal in complainant case subject to special leave. The Limitation Act, 1963 in Art. 114(b) has only provided for a period of 30 days within which the appeal has to be filed by the complainant and the time of limitation commences from the date of the grant of special leave by the High Court.
The period within which the special leave petition has to be filed is provided in sub-section (5) of Section 378 of the Cr.P.C., 1973. In the case of appeal by public servant special leave has to be applied for within six months and in case of person other than public servant within 60 days of the date of acquittal.