The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Re: Cognizance for extension of limitation [Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.3 of 2020, decided on March 8, 2021] lifted the extension of the limitation period for filing of cases, granted by the Court vide Order dated March 23, 2020 on account of COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown which was extended from time to time and held as under:
· In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from March 15, 2020 till March 14, 2021 shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on March 15, 2020, if any, shall become available with effect from March 15, 2021.
· In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between March 15, 2020 till March 14, 2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from March 15, 2021. In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from March 15, 2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
· The period from March 15, 2020 till March 14, 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.
· Directed the Government of India to amend the guidelines for containment zones. Further, stated that regulated movement will be allowed for medical emergencies, provision of essential goods and services, and other necessary functions, such as, time bound applications, including for legal purposes, and educational and job-related requirements.
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