Extension order on period for filing cases withdrawn

SC withdraws order on extension of limitation period for filing cases

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court has said the extension granted in connection with the limitation period to file cases in courts, in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, will end on October 2, 2021. 

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant said: “In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from March 15, 2020, to October 2, 2021, shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on March 15, 2021, if any, shall become available with effect from October 3, 2021”. 

The bench added that in cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between March 15, 2020, to October 2, 2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from October 3, 2021. It further added that in the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from October 3, 2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.  

In another direction, the bench said: “ The period from March 15, 2020, to October 2, 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”.  

On March 23, 2020, acting suo motu, the top court had directed the suspension of limitation periods, in view of "extraordinary health crisis" in the form of Covid-19 pandemic. Subsequently, on March 8, 2021, the court had recalled this order, after taking note of the decline in Covid cases in the country.  

Thereafter in view of the "devastating and debilitating effect" of the second wave, Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association approached the court, seeking suspension of limitation periods.  

The court on April 27 ordered that the limitation period under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings in the country shall stand extended until further orders.

On September 23, after hearing Attorney General K K Venugopal, senior advocate Vikas Singh and others, the bench noted, "There is consensus that there is no requirement for the continuance of the initial order passed by this court on 23.03.2020 and relaxation of the period of limitation need not be continued any further."

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