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Supreme Court Reserves Orders On Lifting Limitation Period Extension; AG Suggests Exclusion Of 15.03.2020 To 14.03.2021 From Limitation Period

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 March 2021 12:59 PM GMT
Supreme Court Reserves Orders On Lifting Limitation Period Extension; AG Suggests Exclusion Of 15.03.2020 To 14.03.2021 From Limitation Period
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The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved orders on the lifting of the extension of the limitation period for filing of cases granted by the Court in March last year on account of COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown.A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices L Nageswara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat reserved orders after hearing the suggestions of the Attorney General for...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved orders on the lifting of the extension of the limitation period for filing of cases granted by the Court in March last year on account of COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices L Nageswara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat reserved orders after hearing the suggestions of the Attorney General for India, KK Venugopal.

Suggestions of Attorney General

The AG submitted a note with the following suggestions :

1. In computing the period of limitation, period from 15.03.2020 to 14.03.2021 shall stand excluded.

2. The balance period of limitation remaining as on 15.03.2020 shall be available w.e.f 15.03.2021.All person shall have an extra period of 90 days w.e.f 15.03.2021. If the balance period available is greater than 90 days, the greater period will be available for limitation with effect from 15.03.2021.

3. The exclusion of the period 15.03.2020 to 14.03.2021 will also apply to proceedings under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Negotiable Instruments Act and Commercial Courts Act.

4.  If lockdown is re-imposed in any parts of the country, such lockdown period will also be excluded from computing limitation.

5. The Government of India will amend the regulations to enable persons in containment zones to go out for emergency services, which will include legal filing purposes.

SG requests for making the order applicable to PMLA attachment proceedings

The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, requested the bench to make the exclusion of limitation period applicable to the period for confirmation of attachment proceedings under Sections 26 and 32 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well.

However, Senior Advocates Sidharth Luthra and Advocate Arshdeep Khurana told the bench that this issue was pending in appeal in the Delhi High Court. The bench was told that a single bench of the Delhi High Court had taken the view that the suo moto extension of limitation was not applicable to PMLA attachment proceedings. Against the singe bench decision, the Enforcement Directorate has filed appeal, which is pending before the Division Bench.

The SG submitted that it was necessary to exclude limitation for PMLA proceedings as well so that attachment worth crores of rupees will lapse.

Senior Advocate Luthra urged the bench not to mention anything about PMLA proceedings in the order as it will have the effect of allowing the appeals pending in the Delhi HC without hearing the parties.

The CJI said that the bench will pass appropriate orders in this regard after considering the issue.

Another lawyer mentioned that the bench had passed an order in July last year in the suo moto proceedings allowing the service of notice through WhatsApp and other online messenger services. The lawyer requested the bench to allow the continuation of that order.

The CJI replied that the present proceeding was concerned only with the limitation period for filing of cases and observed that the bench did not wish to "complicate the matter".

Yesterday, a 3-judge bench headed by CJI had indicated that the suo moto extension of limitation will be lifted, and a 90 days grace period will be given with effect from the date of lifting of the same.


It was on March 23 last year that the Supreme Court extended the limitation period for filing in all courts and tribunals with effect from March 15, 2020, until further orders. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India passed this order suo moto taking note of the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 6, the Court extended the application of the order to proceedings under Arbitration Act and Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Later, in July 2020, the SC clarified that this order will apply to Section 29A and 23(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.

In December 2020, a two-judge bench of the SC had said that the suo moto extension of limitation was still in force.

Click here to read/download the order






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