Indirect Tax Alert - Supreme Court has extended the period of limitation prescribed under the general law or special laws
11 March 2021
- Due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India took suo motu cognizance of the situation arising from difficulties that might be faced by the litigants across the country in filing petitions/applications/suits/appeals/all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under any special laws (both Central or State)
- The Court has extended the period of limitation prescribed under the general law or special laws whether compoundable or not with effect from 15 March 2020 till further orders by an order dated 27 March 2021. The order dated 15 March 2020 was extended from time to time;
- Though pandemic has not come to an end, there is considerable improvement. The lockdown has been lifted and the country is returning to normalcy. Almost all the Courts and Tribunals are functioning either physically or by virtual mode. The Court is of the opinion that the order dated 15 March 2020 has served its purpose and in view of the changing scenario relating to the pandemic, the extension of limitation should come to an end.
- The Court has considered the suggestions of the learned Attorney General for India regarding the future course of action and issued the following directions:
- In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from 15 March 2020 till 14 March 2021 shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 15 March 2020, if any, shall become available with effect from 15 March 2021;
- In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15 March 2020 till 14 March 2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 15 March 2021. In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 15 March 2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply;
- The period from 15 March 2020 till 14 March 2021 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;
- The Court directed that the Government of India shall amend the guidelines for containment zones, to state.
[Supreme Court of India order dated 08 March 2021]