Tuesday 25 June 2024

What is basic concept of Continuous offence with reference to Indian criminal law?

 The concept of a "continuous offence" in Indian criminal law refers to an act or a series of acts that constitute a single offence, which continues over a period of time. This is different from a series of separate offences. In the context of criminal law, understanding continuous offences is important for determining issues like the statute of limitations and jurisdiction.

Key Characteristics of a Continuous Offence:

  1. Ongoing Nature: The offence persists over a period of time and does not culminate at a single point.
  2. Single Transaction: It is considered as one continuous act rather than separate acts.
  3. Single Charge: Typically, the offender is charged for a single continuous offence rather than multiple separate offences.

Examples and Application:

  1. Trespass: If a person unlawfully enters and remains on another person's property over an extended period, it constitutes a continuous offence. The act of remaining on the property unlawfully is continuous, not just the initial entry.

  2. Nuisance: Maintaining a public nuisance, such as consistently discharging waste into a public waterway, is considered a continuous offence as it happens over time.

S 518 of BNSS or Section 472 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC):

  • This section specifies that in the case of a continuing offence, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time during which the offence continues.


The concept of continuous offence is crucial in Indian criminal law for understanding the ongoing nature of certain crimes and determining the appropriate legal proceedings. Continuous offences are recognized as those which persist over time, and legal frameworks, such as the BNSS or  CrPC, provide for the extension of limitation periods in such cases. The courts have interpreted continuous offences to ensure that justice is served by considering the ongoing nature of the wrongful acts.

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