In the wake of recent unprecedented spike in COVID cases in the past few weeks, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India vide its order dated April 27, 2021 has restored the order dated March 23, 20201 and has directed that the period(s) of limitation, as prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended till further orders2.
It would be relevant to mention here that the Supreme Court last year in March in view of the onset of the pandemic had suo moto had extended the period of calculating limitation w.e.f. March 15, 2020 till further orders and as the lockdown kept on extending, so did the limitation period3.
Later, in view of decline witnessed in COVID-19 cases in India, the Supreme Court on March 08, 2021 had finally disposed off the suo moto proceedings and excluded the period from March 15, 2020 till March 14, 2021 for calculating the period of limitation.4
Supreme Court's Order of April 27, 2021
However, the situation in the past few weeks saw a drastic rise in Covid-19 cases leading to lockdown again being imposed in several parts of India. Resultantly, the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) filed an application seeking the revival of the first suo moto order passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court which had extended the period of limitation with effect from March 15, 2020 till further orders (which ultimately ended on March, 14, 2021).
The Hon'ble Court while hearing the application remarked that the Covid-19 second wave has created an "alarming situation" and thereby has put the litigants in a "difficult situation".
Hence, in view of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Court has now ordered to extend the Limitation Period for filing Cases under all general and special laws across the country until further orders.
Thus, all limitation period which had already ended on March 14, 2021 will be extended until further orders.
Period of Limitation extension- Supreme Court- Timeline
|S No.||Order date||Extension of Limitation Period|
|1||March 23, 2020 of Suo Motu Writ (Civil) No(s).3/2020||From March 15, 2020 till further order/s|
|2||March 08, 2020 of Suo Motu Writ (Civil) No(s).3/2020||Ended on March 14, 2021|
|3||April 27, 2021||From March 14, 2021 till further orders|
In view of the aforesaid, the period of limitation in all the cases in all the Courts/ tribunals which was to excluded from March 15, 2020 till March 14, 2021, will now be excluded till the time any further orders are passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.
The Apex Court's order comes as a much needed relief to all the litigants who were in the process of filing their cases however were facing hardships in filing due to the spike in Covid-19 cases and subsequent lockdown in various parts of the country.
1 The Apex Court vide its order dated March 23, 2020 had directed that the period of limitation in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings, irrespective of the period of limitation prescribed under the general or special laws, shall stand extended with effect from March 15, 2020 till further orders.
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