By taking judicial notice of the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to litigants all across the country and in view of the severity of the infections, the Supreme Court of India by its order dated 27th April 2021 has restored its earlier order dated 23rd March, 2020. In doing so the Court 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 orders.
The Court has further clarified that the period from 14th March, 2021 till further orders 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.
This clarification was necessary since the same Court had recently passed an order dated 8th March 2021, whereby it had ended the extension of limitation with effect from 14th March 2021, and had issued certain directions. This order dated 8th March 2021 had disposed of the suo motu proceedings, which had resulted in passage of the order dated 23rd March 2020. Now, by restoration of the said order dated 23rd March 2020 and in light of the aforesaid directions, the period of extension has again been extended until further orders.
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