Social Welfare Act, 1952

General provisions as to prosecutions.

53.—(1) Proceedings for an offence under this Act or under regulations shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Minister or by an officer authorised in that behalf by special or general directions of the Minister.

(2) A prosecution for an offence under this Act or regulations may be brought at the suit of the Minister.

(3) Notwithstanding any provision in any Act specifying the period within which summary proceedings may be commenced, proceedings in respect of an offence under this Act or under regulations may be commenced at any time within the period of three months from the date on which evidence, sufficient in the opinion of the Minister to justify a prosecution for the offence, comes to his knowledge, or within the period of twelve months after the commission of the offence, whichever period last expires.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) of this section, a certificate, sealed with the official seal of the Minister, as to the date on which such evidence as aforesaid came to his knowledge shall be conclusive evidence thereof.

(5) In any proceedings for an offence under this Act or regulations, the wife or husband of the person charged with the offence shall, notwithstanding any other Act, be competent to give evidence, whether for or against the said person, but the wife or husband shall not be compellable either to give evidence or, in giving evidence, to disclose any communication made to her or him during the marriage by the said person.