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September 30, 2021

SC Order recalling Suo Motu Extension of Limitation Period

SC Order recalling Suo Motu Extension of Limitation Period

Fact and Issue of the case

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March, 2020, this Court took Suo Motu cognizance of the difficulties that might be faced by the litigants in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under any special laws (both Central and/or State). On 23.03.2020, this Court directed extension of the period of limitation in all proceedings before the Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f. 15.03.2020 till further orders.

Considering the reduction in prevalence of COVID-19 virus and normalcy being restored, the following order was passed in the Suo Motu proceedings on 08.03.2021. Thereafter, there was a second surge in COVID-19 cases which
had a devastating and debilitating effect. The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) intervened in the Suo Motu proceedings by filing Miscellaneous Application No.665 of 2021 seeking restoration of the order dated 23.03.2020. Acceding to the request made by SCAORA, this Court passed the order.

It is further clarified that the period from 14th March, 2021 till further orders 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.

Court has passed this order in exercise of our powers under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Constitution of
India. Hence it shall be a binding order within the meaning of Article 141 on all Courts/Tribunals and Authorities.

Observation of the court

Court dispose of the M.A. No.665 of 2021 with the following 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.”

Read the full order from below

SC-Order-recalling-Suo-Motu-Extension-of-Limitation-Period

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