Supreme Court excludes period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 for limitation purpose
In March, 2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court had taken Suo Motu cognizance of the difficulties that might be faced by the litigants in filing petitions/applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other quasi proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under any special laws (both Central and/or State)due to the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic.
On 23.03.2020, the Court directed extension of the period of limitation in all proceedings before Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f. 15.03.2020 till further orders. On 08.03.2021,the order dated 23.03.2020 was brought to an end, permitting the relaxation of period of limitation between 15.03.2020 and 14.03.2021. While doing so, it was made clear that the period of limitation would start from 15.03.2021.
Thereafter, due to a second surge in COVID19 cases, the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) intervened seeking restoration of the order dated 23.03.2020 relaxing limitation. The Apex Court passed orderextending the period of limitation in all proceedings before the Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021.
Again a Miscellaneous Application had been filed by the SCAORA in view of the spread of the new variant of the COVID19 and the drastic surge in the number of COVID cases across the country.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court while disposing of the Application passed the following directions:
ABCAUS Case Law
3567 (2022) (01) SC
3567 (2022) (01) SC
(i) The order dated 23.03.2020has been restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 08.03.2021, 27.04.2021and 23.09.2021, it is directed that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi judicial proceedings.
(ii) The balance period of limitation remaining as on 03.10.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 01.03.2022.
(iii) In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022,notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022. In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
(iv) It has been further clarified that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 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.
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