Supreme Court to recall limitation period
The Supreme Court announced on 23 September 2021, that it would be recalling its earlier Suo motu Order of April 2021 that extended the limitation period in proceedings before Courts/Tribunals in the Country. This Order was brought into effect to obviate difficulties faced by lawyers and litigants due to the pandemic The Apex Court stated that the extension limitations will be revoked as of October 1, 2021.The Court also indicated that a relaxation period of 90 days shall come into effect from October 1, 2021. This observation was made by the Supreme Court in the wake of the improvement in the pandemic situation in the country. The Supreme Court also indicated that it will dispose off the Suo Moto case (Suo Moto Writ Petition (Civil) No. 3 of 2020) which was instituted during the outbreak of the pandemic in the country and the consequent nation-wide lockdown.
The Supreme Court had during the last year, invoking its power under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Constitution of India, passed the Order on March 23, 2020 extending the period of limitation with effect from March 15, 2020, till further orders. Consequently, early this year, considering the fact that the lockdown was lifted and the country was slowly returning to normalcy, the Apex Court issued directions on March 08, 2021 that its earlier Order passed on March 23, 2020, has fulfilled its purpose and that the extension of limitation period should come to an end.
However, with the outburst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Supreme Court on 28 April 2021 restored its first Order of 23rd March, 2020 and directed the extension of the limitation period once again, in all judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings, until further orders.
The Apex Court has been extending the limitation period by multiple Orders but has now opined that the Orders can be lifted, agreeing to the submission by the Attorney General that the COVID situation in the country has improved. With this indication by the Court that the extension of limitation period should come to an end, we can expect an Order to be passed soon by the Court with the necessary directions to Courts and litigants.