The Tamil Nadu government on Friday filed a petition in the Madras High Court seeking to recall its order which quashed a first information report accusing spiritual leader Siva Shankar of sexual harassment, reported Bar and Bench.

On October 17, Justice RN Manjula had quashed the FIR against Shankar citing a technical flaw. The court was told during the hearing that the woman had filed the complaint 10 years after the alleged assault took place in 2010.

The complainant had failed to file an application for condonation of delay before the magistrate. Condonation refers to when a person has ignored an offence or forgiven it earlier, but later wants to file a legal complaint.

Justice Manjula had said that though the allegations were serious in nature, the case had to be “barred by limitation” as the complainant had not filed a petition under Section 473 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to condone the delay.

Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prescribes a limitation period for courts to take cognisance of an offence, depending on its severity. However, Section 473 of the CrPC states that a court can take cognisance of an offence after the expiry of limitation period if it is satisfied that the delay has been properly explained or it is necessary to do so for imparting justice.

The FIR had been registered last year after the woman filed a complaint alleging that she was sexually harassed by the spiritual leader in 2010-’11, reported The New Indian Express. The woman had said she was assaulted when she approached Shankar after her son was removed from a residential school run by him.

She had lodged the complaint amid a series of child abuse allegations against the spiritual leader.

On Friday, Additional Public Prosecutor A Damodharan mentioned the matter before Justice Manjula, arguing the complainant had not been informed about the FIR being quashed.

Damodharan also argued that several Supreme Court judgments have held that the limitation period of filing a complaint cannot not be the only ground for quashing an FIR.

The judge agreed to hear the matter on October 31.

In its petition, the government has said that complainant cannot be expected to be aware of a time period to file a complaint. Section 473 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure acts as an overriding provision on Section 468, it said.

The government also argued that Shankar’s case was an extraordinary one, as he was a repeat offender who had sexually harassed or assaulted at least six students at his residential school, and two parents of his students, including the complainant.