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SC Order In Re Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation

Case Covered:

In Re Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation

Order:

The Court is convened through Video Conferencing.

This Court took suo motu cognizance of the situation arising out of the challenge faced by the country on account of the COVID-19 Virus and resultant difficulties that could be faced by the litigants across the country. Consequently, it was directed vide order dated 23rd March 2020 that the period of limitation in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings, irrespective of the period of limitation prescribed under the general or special laws, shall stand extended with effect from 15th March 2020 till further orders.

Thereafter on 8th March 2021, it was noticed that the country is returning to normalcy and since all the Courts and Tribunals have started functioning either physically or by virtual mode, an extension of limitation was regulated and brought to an end. The suo motu proceedings were, thus, disposed of issuing the following directions:

“1. In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application, or proceeding, the period from 15.03.2020 till 14.03.2021 shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as of 15.03.2020, if any, shall become available with effect from 15.03.2021.

2. In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 till 14.03.2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 15.03.2021. In the event, the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 15.03.2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.

3. The period from 15.03.2020 till 14.03.2021 shall also stand excluded in computing the periods prescribed under 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 prescribe period(s) of limitation for instituting proceedings, outer limits (within which the court or tribunal can condone delay) and termination of proceedings.

4. The Government of India shall amend the guidelines for containment zones, to state.

“Regulated movement will be allowed for medical emergencies, provision of essential goods and services, and other necessary functions, such as time-bound applications, including for legal purposes, and educational and job-related requirements.”

Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association (SCAORA) has now through this Interlocutory Application highlighted the daily surge in COVID cases in Delhi and how difficult it has become for the Advocates-on-Record and the litigants to institute cases in Supreme Court and other courts in Delhi. Consequently, restoration of the order dated 23rd March 2020 has been prayed for.

We have heard Mr. Shivaji M. Jadhav, President SCAORA in support of the prayer made in this application. The learned Attorney General and Learned Solicitor General have also given their valuable suggestions.

We also take judicial notice of the fact that the steep rise in COVID-19 Virus cases is not limited to Delhi alone but has engulfed the entire nation. The extraordinary situation caused by the sudden and second outburst of the COVID-19 Virus, thus, requires extraordinary measures to minimize the hardship of the litigant–public in all the states. We, therefore, restore the order dated 23rd March 2020 and in continuation of the order dated 8th March 2021 direct that the period(s) of limitation, as prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether condonable or not shall stand extended till further orders.

It is further clarified that the period from 14th March 2021 till further orders shall also stand excluded in computing the periods prescribed under 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 prescribe period(s) of limitation for instituting proceedings, outer limits (within which the court or tribunal can condone delay) and termination of proceedings.

We have passed this order in exercise of our powers under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Constitution of India. Hence it shall be a binding order within the meaning of Article 141 on all Courts/Tribunals and Authorities.

This order may be brought to the notice of all High Courts for being communicated to all subordinate courts/Tribunals within their respective jurisdiction.

Issue notice to all the Registrars General of the High Courts, returnable in 6 weeks.

List the Miscellaneous Application on 19th July 2021.

Read & Download the Order in pdf:

SC Order In Re Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation

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