By LE Desk

New Delhi, March 8: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to end the extended limitation period granted to litigants for filing appeals.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.A. Bobde, on March 23 last year, invoked its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to extend the limitation period of appeals from courts or tribunals due to the pandemic. The limitation period was extended with effect from March 15, 2020.

In an order on Monday, the Bench ended this arrangement, keeping in mind the improved situation in the country and the fact that courts have started functioning, The Hindu reported.

“Though, we have not seen the end of the pandemic, there is considerable improvement. The lockdown has been lifted and the country is returning to normalcy. Almost all the Courts and Tribunals are functioning either physically or by virtual mode. We are of the opinion that the order has served its purpose and in view of the changing scenario relating to the pandemic, the extension of limitation should come to an end,” the court said in its order.

It issued a slew of directions regarding the future course of action on the filing of appeals.

“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,” it said.

Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on March 15, 2020, if any, shall become available with effect from March15, this year, it stated.

“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,” it said.

The court said its order would be applicable in cases including those under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the Commercial Courts Act and the cheque bounce cases under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The Bench further asked the Centre to amend the guidelines for containment zones to include a clause 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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