With the view of the spike in COVID-19 cases, the apex court of India decided on 10th January 2022 to extend the time limit for filing lawsuits under all general and special laws across the country. This extension will be in effect till 28.02.22
The Bench: Whom did it comprise of?
The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association has asked the Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant to suspend the limitation time for filing cases. Reverting to the same, the CJI stated the following:
“We are embracing SCAORA’s petition,” said CJI Ramana.
Who filed the petition?
In the present case, the petition was filed by Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association (SCAORA). In the wake of the worrying increase in Covid-19 cases around the country, a lawyers’ group has petitioned the Supreme Court to reinstate the restriction period for filing court proceedings.
In its petition, the SCAORA requested that the judgements of March 23, 2020 and April 27, 2021, which put the orders extending statutory limitation in abeyance, be reinstated.
Request put-forth by AG KK Venugopal
Since the initial order of March 2020 was in effect until October 1, 2021, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal urged that the relaxation begin on October 2, 2021.
The Attorney General was then asked to submit a memorandum in this regard by the Bench.
The AG replied, “I have already sent one.”
The Court then stated that it would investigate the matter before issuing an order.
The SCAORA had asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a March 2020 order in which the Court had taken up the subject suo motu, directing the suspension of the limitation period because to the difficulty litigants experienced in reaching the courts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Timeline of events
23rd March 2020– Taking into account the problems faced by plaintiffs in contacting the courts in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Supreme Court had ordered the suspension of the limitation period under all general and special legislation, with effect from March 15, 2020.
15th March 2020– the order passed by the apex court persisted till 15th March 2020. The order was periodically extended.It further said that the time from March 15, 2020, to October 2, 2021, shall be excluded from the computation of the periods required by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the Commercial Courts Act, the Negotiable Instruments Act, and any other legislation imposing a limitation term.
8th March 2021- However, after a drop in COVID cases, the Court recalled that ruling on March 8, 2021.Nevertheless, the disastrous second wave had hit, prompting SCAORA to petition the Supreme Court for a stay of the statute of limitations in light of the surge.
27th April 2021- The apex court of India ordered for the extension of the limitation period.
23rd September 2021-The bench took note of the improved pandemic scenario while hearing the case on September 23, 2021, and stated that it would recall its April 27 order, which had extended the operation of an earlier limitation period order.
2nd October 2021-Since the number of COVID cases decreased, this extension came to an end on October 2, 2021.