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Case Law Details

Case Name : In Re: Cognizance For Extension of Limitation (Supreme Court of India)
Appeal Number : Miscellaneous Application No. 21 of 2022
Date of Judgement/Order : 10/01/2022
Related Assessment Year :

In Re: Cognizance For Extension of Limitation (Supreme Court of India)

SC revived Limitation extension Order till February 28, 2022

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Re Cognizance For Extension of Limitation  [Miscellaneous Application No. 21 of 2022 in Miscellaneous Application No. 665 of 2021 in Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) No. 3 of 2020 dated January 10, 2022] restored its earlier order in order to exclude period starting from March 15, 2020 till February 28, 2022, for the purposes of limitation prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, in view of the spread of the new variant of the COVID­19 and the drastic surge   in   the   number   of   COVID   cases   across   the   country.

Facts:

Earlier, the Hon’ble Supreme Court The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) No. 3 of 2020 dated March 23, 2020 had extended period limitation for judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings from March 15, 2020 till further order considering the challenges faced by the litigants on account of COVID 19.

Further vide order dated March 08, 2021 stated that the extended period limitation shall end on March 14, 2021.

Furthermore, vide Re: Cognizance for Extension of Limitation [Miscellaneous Application No. 665/ 2021 dated April 27, 2021] restored the above order dated March 15, 2020 till further order.

Thereafter, vide order dated September 23, 2021 stated that the extended period limitation shall end on October 02, 2021 after noting that normalcy was returning.

Now, plea has been made to extend the period of limitation in view of rising COVID cases

Held:

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Miscellaneous Application No. 21 of 2022 dated January 10, 2022 held as under in view of rising COVID cases:

  • Restored its order dated March 8, 2021, April 27, 2021 and September 23, 2021. Further directed that the period from March 15, 2020 till February 28., 2022 shall stand excluded for the purposes of 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 on October 03, 2021, if any, shall become available with effect from March 01, 2022
  • Held that, in cases where the limitation expiring during the period   between   March 15, 2020   till   February 28, 2022, the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from March 01, 2022. Further, where the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from March 01, 2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
  • Clarified that, the period from March 15, 2020 till February 28., 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.

Our comments:

The CBIC vide Circular No. 157/13/2021-GST dated July 20, 2021 issued clarification on the extension of limitation under GST Law in terms of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Order dated April 27, 2021 which can be accessed at: https://www.a2ztaxcorp.com/clarification-on-extension-of-limitation-under-gst-law-in-terms-of-honble-supreme-courts-order-dated-april-27-2021/

To know more, kindly watch our video on “SC: Period of Limitation extended till Further Order…Applicability in GST” by CA Bimal Jain at:

FULL TEXT OF THE  SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT

1. In March, 2020, this Court took Suo Motu cognizance of the difficulties that might be faced by the litigants in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other quasi proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under any special laws (both Central and/or State) due to the outbreak of the COVID­19 pandemic.

2. On 23.03.2020, this Court directed extension of the period of limitation in all proceedings before Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f. 15.03.2020 till further orders. On 08.03.2021, the order dated 23.03.2020 was brought to an end, permitting the relaxation of period of limitation between 15.03.2020 and 14.03.2021. While doing so, it was made clear that the period of limitation would start from 15.03.2021.

3. Thereafter, due to a second surge in COVID­19 cases, the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) intervened in the Suo Motu proceedings by filing Miscellaneous Application No. 665 of 2021 seeking restoration of the order dated 23.03.2020 relaxing limitation. The aforesaid Miscellaneous Application No.665 of 2021 was disposed of by this Court vide Order dated 23.09.2021, wherein this Court extended the period of limitation in all proceedings before the Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021.

4. The present Miscellaneous Application has been filed by the Supreme Court Advocates­on­Record Association in the context of the spread of the new variant of the COVID­19 and the drastic surge in the number of COVID cases across the country.

Considering the prevailing conditions, the applicants are seeking the following:

i. allow the present application by restoring the order dated 23.03.2020 passed by this Hon’ble Court in Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) NO. 3 of 2020 ; and

ii. allow the present application by restoring the order dated 27.04.2021 passed by this Hon’ble Court in M.A. no. 665 of 2021 in Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) NO. 3 of 2020; and

iii. pass such other order or orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper.

5. Taking into consideration the arguments advanced by learned counsel and the impact of the surge of the virus on public health and adversities faced by litigants in the prevailing conditions, we deem it appropriate to dispose of the M.A. No. 21 of 2022 with the following directions:

I. The order dated 23.03.2020 is restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 08.03.2021, 27.04.2021 and 23.09.2021, it is directed that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi­judicial proceedings.

II. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 03.10.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 01.03.2022.

III. 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. 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.

IV. It is 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.

6. As prayed for by learned Senior Counsel, M.A. No. 29 of 2022 is dismissed as withdrawn.

The Court is convened through Video Conferencing.

M.A. No.21 of 2022 is disposed of and M.A. No.29/2022 is dismissed as withdrawn, in terms of the signed Order.

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One Comment

  1. KALLESHAMURTHY K N says:

    Whether the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded in computing the periods of re-assessments under indirect taxation Law such as VAT, CST, and GST Acts?
    Whether interest payable on belated payment of tax exclude the above period?

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