Supreme court order for extension in the period of limitation (Suo-moto order by the Hon’ble Supreme court)

Court: Supreme court of India

Order Passed: Re: Cognizance for Extension in period of Limitation (Supreme court order for extension in the period of limitation)

Date of Judgment: 10th January 2022

Facts & Issue of the case:

  • Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 global pandemic and the difficulties that might be faced by litigants in filing petitions, applications, suits, appeals, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in March 2020 took suo motu cognizance to extend the limitation prescribed under the general law or any special law (for both central and state).
  • On 23 March 2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed extension of the period of limitation in all proceedings before the courts and tribunal including the Hon’ble Supreme Court with effect from 15 March 2020 until further orders.
  • Considering the normalcy being restored and reduction in prevalence of the Covid-19 virus, the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 8 March 2021 decided to withdraw the extension on limitation from 14 March 2021 wherein it made it made clear that the period of limitation shall start from 15.03.2021.
  • Thereafter, a second wave of Covid-19 pandemic took over India in 2021 and had a severe effect on the nation. The Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) intervened in the suo motu proceedings and sought an order for restoration of extension of period of limitation in respect of all the proceedings. The apex court accepted the request made by the SCAORA passed an order on 27 April 2021 restoring the extension of the period of limitation until further orders.
  • In September 2021, an application was filed vide application no. 665 of 2021 seeking modification of the order extending limitation. The aforesaid Miscellaneous application was disposed of by this court and the apex court held that it would consider recalling the suo motu order with respect to all cases. Accordingly, the Apex Court on 23 September 2021 recalled the limitation extension w.e.f. 2 October 2021.
  • As India witnessed a sharp rise in the Covid-19 cases in January 2022, the Hon’ble Supreme Court once again decided to restore the limitation extension. As per the order of the Apex Court dated 10 January 2022, the period from 15 March 2020 to 28 February 2022 would stand excluded for the purpose of limitation in respect of all the Judicial proceedings.

Proceedings of the court:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India passed the following directions while deciding a miscellaneous application filed by the SCAORA:

  • The order dated 23.03.2020 is restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 08.03.2021, 27.04.2021 and 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.
  • Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 03.10.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 01.03.2022.
  • In cases where the limitation period falling between 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022, notwithstanding, all the persons shall have a limitation period for 90 days starting from 01.03.2022. In case the actual balance period is more than 90 days, the longer period shall apply.
  • It is further clarified that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall also stand excluded in computing the periods prescribed under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and any other laws, which prescribe period(s) of limitation for instituting proceedings.

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