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In view of changing scenario of pandemic, extension of limitation should come to an end: SC

In Re: Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation

Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.3 of 2020

Decided on March 8, 2021

The present case was decided by C.J.I. S.A. Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat.

Similar to slowdowns and winding up of services and industries, due to the onset of the corona virus pandemic, the judicial mechanism faced glitches in its mechanism. The inability of litigants to file petitions/applications/suits/appeals/all other proceedings due to the difficulties arising from physical hurdles of the pandemic are addressed by the Court through this suo motu cognizance.

By an order dated 27.03.2020, the Supreme Court extended the period of limitation prescribed under general or specific laws, until 15.03.2020, till further notice. This order was extended on multiple occasions from 15.03.2020. Despite the end of the pandemic not being definitive, progress is conspicuous. With the lockdown being lifted, most judicial bodies are functioning actively either in physical form or virtually. With these developments in sight, the Supreme Court has recognized the fact that this order had served its necessity.

In consideration of the Attorney General’s suggestions, the Supreme Court issued 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 on 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. (Para 2)

The direction also stated that the same period will not be compounded under the limits prescribed under Section 23(4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and also provisos (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. All other laws that prescribe a limit on proceedings are subject to the same.

The suo motu Writ Petition was disposed after the guidelines for containment zones was directed to be amended as follows:

Regulated movement will be allowed for medical emergencies, provision of essential functions, such as, time bound applications, including for legal purposes, and educational and job-related requirements. (Para 2)

Shreya Shetty G R



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