Friday, 28 October 2016

Whether court or tribunal can extend period of limitation for filing of suit?

There is no case for anybody that even for part of the
day, the Registry was closed. But Section 5 of the Act which
deals with “Extension of prescribed period in certain cases”,
applies only to appeals or applications and not to suits.
Therefore, no court or tribunal can extend the period of
limitation for filing a suit. Even if any cause, beyond the control
of the plaintiff is shown also, the only extension is what is
permitted under Section 4 of the Act, the period coming under
court holiday.
Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5862 OF 2016
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No. 27853 of 2012)
AJAY GUPTA .
V
RAJU @ RAJENDRA SINGH YADAV
Citation:2016 (5) ALLMR 443 SC

2. The impugned judgment on limitation to file a suit gives
an interesting reading on reasoning:
“Learned trial court has vide impugned order,
disposed the application filed under Order 7 Rule 11
by the defendant on the ground that 01.01.2011 was
non-working Saturday, therefore the Suit was filed on
03.01.2011 is within limitation. Although, there is no
bar for filing of Suit on non-working Saturday but if
the Suit is not filed on non-working Saturday under
the assumption that it is non-working Saturday then
the mistake of non-filing is a bonafide mistake, so the
mistake is taken as bonafide mistake.”

3. It is not in dispute that the last date for filing the suit
was 31.12.2010, the last day of winter vacation for court.
01.01.2011 was a Saturday, and even according to the High
Court, it is non-working Saturday for the Judges for enabling
them to write judgments and regular hearing of cases is not
heard on a non-working Saturday. Obviously, it was not a
holiday for the Registry and there is no question of any
confusion, though such confusion also cannot save limitation to
file a suit.
4. Section 4 of The Limitation Act, 1963 (hereinafter
referred to as ‘the Act’), dealing with “Expiry of prescribed
period when court is closed”, no doubt, applies to suits as well,
and in case the prescribed period for any suit, appeal or
application expires on a day when the court is closed, the suit,
appeal or application may be instituted, preferred or made on
the day when the court reopens.
5. The explanation under Section 4 of the Act also makes it
clear that:

“Explanation.-A court shall be deemed to be
closed on any day within the meaning of this
section if during any part of its normal working
hours it remains closed on that day.”
6. There is no case for anybody that even for part of the
day, the Registry was closed. But Section 5 of the Act which
deals with “Extension of prescribed period in certain cases”,
applies only to appeals or applications and not to suits.
Therefore, no court or tribunal can extend the period of
limitation for filing a suit. Even if any cause, beyond the control
of the plaintiff is shown also, the only extension is what is
permitted under Section 4 of the Act, the period coming under
court holiday.
7. Thus, both the trial court and the High Court have
gravely gone wrong on the first principles on the law of
Limitation. Therefore, the impugned order is set aside. The
application filed by the appellant under Order VII Rule 11 of The
Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is allowed. Recovery Suit No.
1/2011 on the file of the ADJ, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh is
dismissed.

8. The appeal is allowed as above. There shall be no order
as to costs.
........................................J.
 (KURIAN JOSEPH)
......………………………………J.
(ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)
New Delhi;
July 5, 2016.

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