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Supreme Court applies its Suo Moto order extending limitation for filing cases.

Supreme Court extends order extending Limitation to Sec 29A and 23(4) of Arbitration act and Section 12A of Commercial Courts Act.

Cause title: IN RE COGNIZANCE FOR EXTENSION OF LIMITATION / SUO MOTO WRIT PETITION (C) NO. 3/2020

The order was passed on July10 by a bench comprising of Chief Justice, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice A.S. Bopanna stated,

“Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 does not prescribe a period of limitation but fixes a time to do certain acts, i.e. making an arbitral award within a prescribed time. We, accordingly, direct that the aforesaid orders shall also apply for extension of time limit for passing arbitral award under Section 29A of the said Act. Similarly, Section 23(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 provides for a time period of 6 months for the completion of the statement of claim and defence. We, accordingly, direct that the aforesaid orders shall also apply for extension of the time limit prescribed under Section 23(4) of the said Act.”

Regarding Section 12A of the Commercial courts act, which deals with Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement the court said:

“Under Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, time is prescribed for completing the process of compulsory pre-litigation, mediation and settlement. The said time is also liable to be extended. We, accordingly, direct that the said time shall stand extended from the time when the lockdown is lifted plus 45 days thereafter. That is to say that if the above period, i.e. the period of lockdown plus 45 days has expired, no further period shall be liable to be excluded.”

The bench also allowed the use of electronic means such as e-mail and messenger service for service of notice, summons and exchange of all pleadings.

“Service of notices, summons and exchange of pleadings/documents, is a requirement of virtually every legal proceeding. Service of notices summons and pleadings etc. have not been possible during the period of lockdown because this involves visits to post offices, courier companies or physical delivery of notices, summons and pleadings. We, therefore, consider it appropriate to direct that such services of all the above may be effected by e-mail, FAX, commonly used instant messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal etc. However, if a party intends to effect service by means of said instant messaging services, we direct that in addition thereto, the party must also effect service of the same document/documents by e-mail, simultaneously on the same date.”

The bench also decided not to pass orders regarding the validity period of cheques, saying it was a matter under the discretion of the Reserve Bank of India to decide by acting under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act.

“With reference to the prayer, that the period of validity of a cheque be extended, we find that the said period has not been prescribed by any Statute but it is a period prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India under Section 35-A of the Banking Regulation Act,1949. We do not consider it appropriate to interfere with the period prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India, particularly, since the entire banking system functions on the basis of the period so prescribed.” To view/ Download the Order: In Re Cognizance

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