Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 6
Taking note of the difficulties faced by litigants and lawyers in approaching it due to COVID19 pandemic, the Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the period of limitation.
“It is hereby ordered that all periods of limitation prescribed under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act 1881 shall be extended with effect from March 15, 2020 till further orders...” a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.
The top court had on March 23 suo motu extended the limitation period for filing of appeals against orders passed by various high courts and tribunals till further orders. The concession was applicable to all general law of limitation and special laws – central or state—with effect from March 15.
Taking note of the difficulties being faced by the lawyers and litigants, the Bench passed the order “with a view to obviate such difficulties and to ensure that lawyers litigants do not have to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunal across the country including this Court...”
“In case the limitation has expired after March15, 2020 then the period from March 15, 2020 till the date on which the lockdown is lifted in the jurisdictional area where the dispute lies or where the cause of action arises shall be extended for a period of 15 days after the lifting of lockdown,” it said.
Invoking its special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the top court had made it clear that the order shall be binding on all courts and tribunals. It also issued notice to all the registrars general of the high courts, asking them to respond in four weeks.
The top court had in March taken suo motu cognisance of the situation arising out of the challenge faced by the country on account of Covid-19 Virus and resultant difficulties that may be faced by litigants across India in filing their petitions/applications/suits/appeals/all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under Special Laws (both Central and/or state).
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