The Supreme Court has ordered the extension granted in connection with the limitation period to file cases in courts, in the backdrop of Covid pandemic situation, to end on October 2, 2021.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising justices L. Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant said: “In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from March 15, 2020 to October 2, 2021, shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on March 15, 2021, if any, shall become available with effect from October 3, 2021”.
The bench added that in cases where the limitation would have expired during the period from March 15, 2020 to October 2, 2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from October 3, 2021. It further added that in the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from October 3, 2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
In another direction, the bench said: “The period from March 15, 2020 to October 2, 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 proviso (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”.
In March last year, the top court had taken up the issue suo motu, and directed the suspension of limitation periods, citing restrictions to contain the spread of Covid. However, the top court had recalled this order in March this year, after taking note of decline in Covid cases in the country.
The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association had then moved the apex court, seeking suspension of limitation periods in the backdrop of second wave of Covid.
On April 27, this year, the top court had ordered that limitation period under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings in the country shall stand extended until further orders.