• Shubham

On 15..03 2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India undertook suo motu cognizance of the difficulties that might be faced by the litigants, and had extended the limitation period prescribed under the general law of limitation or any special laws for filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings “ till 15.03.2021”.
Thereafter on 23.03.2020, the Apex Court re-extended the extension of the limitation period “till further orders” witnessing the devastating and debilitating effect of the second surge in COVID-19 cases.
However, around September 2021, when the situation returned to normal, the Election Commission of India sought modification of the abovementioned order. In response of which the Apex Court recalled the extension of the limitation order with effect from 02.10.2021.
Resultantly, the period from 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021 shall stand excluded while computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application, or proceeding. The balance period of limitation remaining as of 15.03.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 03.10.2021.
However, after witnessing the spread of the new variant of the COVID¬19 virus and the drastic surge in the number of COVID cases across the country, a Miscellaneous Application was filed by the Supreme Court Advocates¬on-Record Association requesting the Apex Court to restore the order dated 23.03.2020.
Taking into consideration the impact of the virus on public health and adversities faced by litigants in the prevailing conditions, the Supreme Court of India restored.
SMW(C) No. 3 of 2020 Miscellaneous Application No. 665 of 2021 Miscellaneous Application No. 21 of 2022
the order dated 23.03.2020 in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 08.03.2021, 27.04.2021 and 23.09.2021, with the following directions:
  • The period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded for 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 of 03.10.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 01.03.2022.
  • 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 i.e 30.05.2022.
  • 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.
It was 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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