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Limitation Act Applicable To Suits, Appeals, Application Filed In Courts, Not Before Statutory Authorities: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
3 May 2019 3:47 PM GMT
Limitation Act Applicable To Suits, Appeals, Application Filed In Courts, Not Before Statutory Authorities: SC [Read Judgment]
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However, a special or local law can very well provide for applicability of any provision of Limitation Act or exclude applicability of any provision of Limitation Act.

The Supreme Court has observed that the suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act, 1963 are suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed in a Court, and not before a statutory authority. The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph held that the 'Commissioner' under Hindu Religious Endowment Charitable Act, 1959 while hearing the...

The Supreme Court has observed that the suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act, 1963 are suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed in a Court, and not before a statutory authority.

The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph held that the 'Commissioner' under Hindu Religious Endowment Charitable Act, 1959 while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of Act, is not a 'Court' within the meaning of the Limitation Act.

It also held that the Commissioner while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act. Section 5 of the Limitation Act is not applicable as per the scheme of HRCE Act, the bench said.

In Ganeshan vs. The Commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious And Charitable Endowments Board, the bench was considering an appeal against the Madras High Court judgment that held that in appeal proceedings before the Commissioner Section 5 of the Limitation Act is fully applicable, and the Commissioner has power to condone the delay in filing appeals under Section 69 of HRCE Act. Referring to various earlier judgments, the bench culled out these principles. It observed:

  • The suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act, 1963 are suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed in a Court.
  • The suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act are not the suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed before a statutory authority like Commissioner under Act, 1959.
  • Operation of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is confined to the suits, appeals and applications referred to in a special or local law to be filed in Court and not before statutory authorities like Commissioner under Act, 1959.
  • However, special or local law vide statutory scheme can make applicable any provision of the Limitation Act or exclude applicability of any provision of Limitation Act which can be decided only after looking into the scheme of particular, special or local law.

Two of the issues before the bench in this case was (1) whether applicability of Section 29(2) of Limitation Act is with regard to different limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application to be filed only in a Court or Section 29(2) can be pressed in service with regard to filing of a suit, appeal or application before statutory authorities and tribunals provided in Special or Local Laws? (2) Whether the Commissioner while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of Act 1959 is entitled to condone a delay in filing an appeal applying the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963?. Applying the above principles to this case, the bench held:

The applicability of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is with regard to different limitations prescribed for any suit, appeal or application when to be filed in a Court. Section 29(2) cannot be pressed in service with regard to filing of suits, appeals and applications before the statutory authorities and tribunals provided in a special or local law. The Commissioner while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act.

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