Supreme Court Recalls Suo Motu Extension Of Limitation With Effect From October 2; Period From 15.03.2020 To 02.10.2021 Stands Excluded From Computing Limitation

Update: 2021-09-25 09:17 GMT

The Supreme Court has recalled the suo motu order of April 27, 2021, which had extended with effect from March 14, 2021 the limitation period for filing of cases in view of the COVID second wave. The Court said that the suo motu extension of limitation period will stand withdrawn with effect from October 2, 2021. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices L...

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The Supreme Court has recalled the suo motu order of April 27, 2021, which had extended with effect from March 14, 2021 the limitation period for filing of cases in view of the COVID second wave.

The Court said that the suo motu extension of limitation period will stand withdrawn with effect from October 2, 2021.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant made these observations in the suo motu case In Re Cognizance For Extension of Limitation.

The following are the directions :

I. In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021 shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 15.03.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 03.10.2021.

II. In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 03.10.2021. In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 03.10.2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.

III. The period from 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021 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.

IV. 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."

The Supreme Court had passed an order on March 23, 2020, directing that the period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not stood extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thereafter, noticing that the country was returning to normalcy, the extension of limitation brought to an end by order dated March 8, 2021.

However, taking into account the surge of COVID cases during the second wave, the Supreme Court on April 27 restored the first order(passed on March 23, 2020), and extended the limitation period with effect from March 14, 2021 until further orders.

Two weeks back, the Election Commission of India filed an application seeking modification of the limitation extension as far as election petitions are concerned, saying that it was difficult to preserve the EVMs and election papers indefinitely. While considering that application, the Supreme Court said on September 9 that it will consider recalling the suo motu order with respect to all cases, and not just election petitions, as the COVID situation has improved across the country.

Case Details

Case Title : In Re Cognizance For Extension of Limitation | Suo Motu Writ Petition(Civil) No.3/2020

Coram : CJI NV Ramana, Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice Surya Kant

Citation : LL 2021 SC 498

Click here to read/download the order

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