Supreme Court extends limitation period for filing cases until further orders

Time Limit Law Insider IN
Time Limit Law Insider IN

Kareena Eugene

On Tuesday, April 27 2021, the Supreme Court extended the limitation period for the filing of cases in Courts and Tribunals, which came in effect from 14th March 2020, until further orders in view of the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

The Court said that the litigants are in a “difficult situation” as the pandemic has increased at an “alarming rate”. The Bench also directed that the time period prescribed for doing any act (under any law) will also be extended.

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and A. S. Bopanna, has passed the order in the Suo-moto case ‘In Re cognizance for Extension of Limitation’.

The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAoRA) had recently filed an application seeking the Suo moto case passed by the Supreme Court on the 23rd of March 2020, to be revived again.

The Bench passed the order and issued a notice to all High Courts on the application, which was kept pending.

Initially, the Bench proposed that the limitation period be extended till 15th of July, 2021. However, Attorney General for India K. K. Venugopal requested the Bench to give extension until further orders.

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also requested the Bench to include the time period for doing any act under any law to be included. The Bench accepted the request made by the Solicitor General.

On March 8, 2021, the Supreme Court ended the extension of limitation with effect from 14th March 2021 by closing the Suo moto case, observing that the COVID-19 situation has improved.

The application made by the SCAoRA mentions, “…after the passing of the above order (of March 8) there has been a considerable and instrumental change in the circumstances all across the country with regard to the Covid cases and the same has taken a serious turn and has also affected the movement of the general public at large”.

On 6th May 2021, the Court extended the application of the order to proceedings under the Arbitration Act and under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Acts.

Later in July 2020, the Supreme Court made it clear that this order will apply to Section 29A and 23(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.

In July 2020, the Bench had passed an order, in the Suo moto proceedings, allowing the service of notice through WhatsApp and other online services.

While lifting the extension on 8th March 2021, the Supreme Court said that the period from 15th March 2020 to 14th March 2021 will stand, excluding from the limitation period.

The Court said that, in cases where the limitation period would have expired between 15th of March 2020 to 14th March 2021, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 15th March 2021.

In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 15th March 2021, is greater than 90 days, the longer period shall be applied.

The period from 15.03.2020 till 14.03.2021 was also stand excluded in computing the periods mentioned under the Sections 23 (4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and provisos (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and any other laws, which prescribes period(s) of limitation for instituting proceedings, outer limits and termination of proceedings.

Related Post