On Friday, the Supreme Court lifted the limitation period for filing cases granted by it in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Court opined that the order dated 15/03/2020 had served its purpose, and due to changing scenario related to the pandemic, limitation extension should end. The Bench further observed that even though the pandemic is not over, there is an improvement, and the lockdown has been lifted, and the country is getting normal again. All tribunals and courts have started functioning normally, either through virtual mode or physically.
The three-judge bench disposed of the case with the following directions:-
- While computing limitation for any case, the period from 15/03/2020 till 14/03/2021 will be excluded, the balance period of limitation will be available from 15.03.2021.
- Cases where limitations expired between 15/03/2020 till 14/03/2021, not counting the remaining balance, all persons will have a limitation period of 90 days from 15/03/2020; if the balance period is more than ninety days, the longer period shall apply.
- The period from 15/03/2020 till 14/03/2021 will not be included while computing period prescribed u/s 23(4) and 29A of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, Section 12A of Commercial Courts Act and proviso b and c of Section 138 NI Act.
- The government of India shall amend guidelines for containment zones of State, and movement shall be allowed for medical emergencies, for essential goods and services, including legal, educational and job-related work.
On 23.03.2020, Apex Court extended the limitation period for filing in tribunals and courts wef 15.03.2020.
Then on 06.05.2020, the Court extended this order to Section 138 NI Act and for Arbitration Act.
Last year the Bench passed an order allowing service of notice through online messenger services and Whatsapp.