LEGAL UPDATE | SUPREME COURT`S COGNIZANCE OF EXTENSION OF LIMITATION PERIOD
The Supreme Court of India vide its Order dated 23 September 2021 has recalled the Suo Motu Order of 27 April 2021 which had extended the period of limitation for filing cases with effect from 14 March 2021, in view of the second wave of the Covid-19. The Order dated 23 September 2021 will be applicable from 2 October 2021.
Background: On 23 March 2020, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue of limitation running vis-a-vis the strict Covid-19 restrictions. By the Order dated 23 March 2020, the period of limitation for filing of all proceedings, regardless of the limitations provided in general law or special laws, was extended with effect from 15 March 2020, until further orders of the Court. Although these provisions were temporarily relaxed due to the reduction in number of Covid-19 cases, on the advent of the second wave of the pandemic, the provisions with respect to extension of limitation were soon resorted back.
Order dated 23 September 2021:: A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice Surya Kant heard the matter and noted that the pandemic situation has now improved drastically. Thus, the Hon`ble Bench, vide its Order dated 23 September 2021, laid down further directions to be followed moving forward in respect of extension of limitation period.
By way of these directions, the Hon`ble Court has stated that the suo motu extension of limitation period will stand withdrawn with effect from 2 October 2021. It was directed that in computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from 15 March 2020 till 2 October 2021 will stand excluded, and consequently, any balance period of limitation remaining on 15 March 2021 shall be available with effect from 3 October 2021.
Further, in cases where the limitation period for any filing has expired between 15 March 2020 and 2 October 2021, notwithstanding the actual balance limitation period remaining, a buffer period of 90 days will be provided with effect from 3 October 2021. In the event if the balance period of limitation as on 3 October 2021 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall be applicable in such cases.
The period of 15 March 2020 till 2 October 2021 will also stand excluded while computing limitation period in certain matters inter alia being under Section 23(4) and Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and the provisos to Section 138 (b) and (c) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.
The clarification of the Supreme Court vide the Order dated 23 September 2021 and providing this buffer period of 90 days comes at a time when courts have reopened and restarted physical appearances, preventing chaos in filing of suits, appeals, applications and other proceedings. Of course, this will be subject to third Covid-19 wave not hitting in this buffer period.
This update was released on 01 Oct 2021.
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