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SC Order Extending Limitation Period Does Not Enlarge The Period Upto Which Delay Can Be Condoned In Exercise Of Statutory Discretion: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
18 Sep 2020 12:51 PM GMT
SC Order Extending Limitation Period Does Not Enlarge The Period Upto Which Delay Can Be Condoned In Exercise Of Statutory Discretion: SC [Read Judgment]
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Clarifying its 23 March order, the Supreme court observed that the said order extended only "the period of limitation" and not the period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute.The Court held that the expression "prescribed period" appearing in Section 4 of the Limitation Act cannot be construed to mean anything other...

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Clarifying its 23 March order, the Supreme court observed that the said order extended only "the period of limitation" and not the period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute.

The Court held that the expression "prescribed period" appearing in Section 4 of the Limitation Act cannot be construed to mean anything other than the period of limitation.

The bench headed by CJI SA Bobde observed thus while upholding an order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal dismissing an application for condonation of delay as well as an appeal as time barred. In this case, the party was supposed  to file an appeal on or before 18.03.2020, but filed it on 20.07.2020. Their contention before the Apex Court was that the Appellate Tribunal failed to take note of the lockdown as well as the SC order extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding with effect from 15.03.2020 until further orders.

Disagreeing with the said argument, the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said:

"But we do not think that the appellants can take refuge under the above order. What was extended by the above order of this Court was only "the period of limitation" and not the period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute. The above order passed by this Court was intended to benefit vigilant litigants who were prevented due to the pandemic and the lockdown, from initiating proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed by general or special law."
It is needless to point out that the law of limitation finds its root in two latin maxims, one of which is Vigilantibus Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt which means that the law will assist only those who are vigilant about their rights and not those who sleep over them."

Referring to Section 10 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and the provisions of the Limitation Act, the bench said that the expression "prescribed period" appearing in Section 4 cannot be construed to mean anything other than the period of limitation.

"Any period beyond the prescribed period, during which the Court or Tribunal has the discretion to allow a person to institute the proceedings, cannot be taken to be "prescribed period"

Therefore, the bench held that the appellant cannot claim the benefit of the order for enlarging, even the period up to which delay can be condoned.

23rd March 2020 Order

"To obviate such difficulties and to ensure that lawyers/litigants do not have to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals across the country including this Court, it is hereby ordered that a period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court in present proceedings", the bench comprising CJI S A Bobde, Justices L Nageshwara Rao and Surya Kant had observed in its 23rd March Order passed by invoking he special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.


Case name:SAGUFA AHMED vs. UPPER ASSAM PLYWOOD PRODUCTS PVT.LTD
Case no.: CIVIL APPEAL NOs.3007­3008 OF 2020 
Coram: CJI SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian 
Counsel: Adv Gunjan Singh,  Sr Adv Sajan Poovayya 

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