On September 23 2021, the High Court of Judicature at Bombay vide its judgment in In re Cognizance for Extension of Limitation (Miscellaneous Application No. 665 of 2021 In SMW(C) No. 3 of 2020)- modified the previous interim orders as passed by it previously on 08th March 2021 and 20th March 2021.

Key Highlights: The Hon’ble Supreme Court has modified its interim orders as follows-

  1. In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021 shall stand excluded. Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as of 15.03.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 03.10.2021.
  2. In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 03.10.2021. In the event, the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 03.10.2021, is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
  3. The period from 15.03.2020 till 02.10.2021 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.

Bottom line: This judgment is a welcome respite to litigants in such an unprecedented situation following the global pandemic. However, pursuant to the normalization of affairs after the second wave earlier this year, the Court has modified its earlier orders to give relief to parties suffering on account of limitation periods prescribed under various applicable laws for the institution of suits and proceedings.

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