Monday, 9 April 2012

The Law of Limitation / Schedule

The Limitation Act, 1963

LIMITATIONS

The right of a person, if he has any, must be exercised within reasonable time, or else his said right will be forfeited as a penalty for his neglect. Laws come to the assist of the vigilant and not to the sleepy, so said by Salmond in his Jurisprudence.

A period of three years has been prescribed for suits relating to accounts, contracts, and declarations; suits relating to decree and instruments; and suits relating to movable properties. A period varying from 1 to 3 years has been prescribed for suits relating to torts and miscellaneous maters.

The doctrine of limitation is based on broad consideration, in the words of Abbott, CJ, in the case of Battley versus Faulkner, “the Statutes of limitation was intended for relief and quiet of the defendant and to prevent persons from being harassed at a distant point of time, after the committing of the injury complained of.” Also when the evidence are lost by defendant with the passage of time, at the benefit of the Plaintiff.

The condonation of delay is the discretion of the court and such discretion is to be exercised if the delay is within certain limits. But the length of delay is not a matter because acceptability of the explanation is the only criterion. If the explanation does not smack of malafides, or it is not put forth for dilatory strategy, the court must show utmost consideration to the Suitor. N Balakrishnan versus M Krishnamurthy – (1998) 7 SCC 123.

The discretion given in section 5 has to be exercised to advance substantial justice.

Speaking order for dismissal of Application for condonation of delay.
SBI versus Vendanathangal Dairy farm – (2000) 10 SCC 538.

Hearing of the other side must: Saraswathiamma versus Asst Commissioner – (2004) 4 Raj LW 555 (SC).

Delay can be condoned even when no written application is made:
Mahabir Singh versis Chief of Army Staff – (1990) Supp SCC 89.

The word “Sufficient cause” should receive liberal construction. The delay should be condoned when no negligence, inaction, or want of bonafides is imputable to the Appellant. Sandhya Rani versus Sudha Rani – AIR 1978 SC 537.

S.22 Continuous cause of action: disturbance of right of worship is a continuous wrong; A notice to quit India is a continuous wrong; An infringement of Trade mark is a continuous wrong.

Law of limitation only bars the remedy but does not extinguish the right. See contract Act 1872 section 26.


Section 27 Adverse possession: 12 years. Adverse possession of land by a wrong doer not only bars the remedy of the original owner to recover possession but also extinguish his title and confers a good title upon the wrong doer.
Mohammed versus Sarju – AIR 1942 All 42;
Fakirappa versus Ningappa – AIR 1949 Bom 266.

A person who claim adverse possession has to prove that he has remained in uninterrupted possession of the property to the knowledge of the true owner and has denied the title of the true owner and asserted his own right of ownership in the property to the exclusion of the true owner.


S,3 Limitation Act – dismissal of Suit - (2005) 4 SCC 613

S.5 of the Limitation Act – Delay in condonation (2001) 9 SCC 106

Retrospective and prospective operation – (2011) 6 SCC 739 – Paras 45, 46.

Procedural law – (2011) 6 SCC 321 – Paras 16, 29, 31 to 37.

Section 5: Sufficient cause – (2010) 14 SCC 343; (2011) 3 SCC 545

Right to sue – when first accrues – (2011) 9 SCC 126

A fresh period of limitation: Section 18: An acknowledgement of liability extends the period of limitation. This section covers case where the original debt remains intact and a promise or an acknowledgement is made in respect of it and given a new starting point of limitation.

An acknowledgement within the meaning of this section must have the following essential attributes –

  1. The acknowledgement must be an affirmative admission of an existing liability; AIR 1963 MP 181
  1. It must be made by the person under the liability or by a person authorized to acknowledge;
  1. The liability must be subsisting on the date of the acknowledgement;
  1. The acknowledgement must be in writing and signed;
  1. The acknowledgement must be signed either by the debtor himself or by the agent duly authorized in that behalf;
  1. The acknowledgement need not be made to the creditor; AIR 1954 Pat 575.
  1. The acknowledgement may not indicate the precise amount of debt / liability; it is sufficient if the      debtor acknowledges that something is due or may be due. AIR 1965 J & K 51.
  1. There may not be a promise to pay and mere acknowledgement of debt is sufficient to constitute      “acknowledgement” within the meaning of this section, thereby giving the fresh period of limitation to the creditor. AIR 1938 Pat 139; AIR 1950 Bom 94; AIR 1961 SC 1236; AIR 1996 HP 14 (DB); AIR 1971 SC 2551; AIR 1925 Mad 261.
  1. An acknowledgement accompanied by refusal to pay is a valid acknowledgement within the meaning of this section. AIR 1963 Mad 403.
  1. An acknowledgement of liability whether express or implied, is good evidence of the existence of      the liability. AIR 1935 All 129; AIR 1941 Nag 294.
  1. The acknowledgement need not directly refer to the liability sought to be enforced in the suit. AIR 1985 Ker 307, 308.
  1. An acknowledgement of liability need not be in respect of debt only; it may be in respect of any property or right which is the subject matter of the suit. 78 IC 617; AIR 1928 All 310.
  1. An absence of denial to a demand made does not operate as an acknowledgement. 33 Cal 1047 (PC); AIR 1917 All 304; AIR 1928 Sind 45; AIR 1935 All 129; AIR 1935 Rang 152; AIR 1936 All 522; AIR 1939 Cal 488; AIR 1939 All 483; AIR 1951 Bom 255.
  1. An acknowledgement by a legal practitioner is a valid acknowledgement to bind his clients. 18 All 384.
  1. A claim to set off is an valid acknowledgement;
  1. Oral evidence, subject to the provisions of Indian Evidence Act, 1872

The idea is that every legal remedy must be kept alive for legislatively fixed period of time. Popat and Kotecha Property versus State Bank of India Staff Asso – (2005) 7 SCC 510, Para 9.
SL. NO.
DESCRIPTION OF SUIT
PERIOD OF LIMITATION
TIME FROM WHICH PERIOD BEGINS TO RUN
1.
For the balance due on a mutual, open and current account where there have been reciprocal demands between the parties.
Three years
The close of the year in which the last item admitted or proved is entered in the account; such year to be computed as in the account.
2.
Against a factor for an account
Three years
When the account is during the continuance of the agency, demanded and refused or, where no such demand is made, when the agency terminates.
3.
By a principal against his agent for movable property received by the latter and not accounted for.
Three years
When the account is during the continuance of the agency, demanded and refused or, where no such demand is made, when the agency terminates.
4.
Other suits by principals against agents for
Three years
When the neglect or misconduct becomes known to the plaintiff.
5.
For an account and a share of the profits of dissolved partnership
Three years
The date of the dissolution.

 SL. NO.
DESCRIPTION OF SUIT
PERIOD OF LIMITATION
TIME FROM WHICH PERIOD BEGINS TO RUN
6.
For a seaman's wages
Three years
The end of the voyage during which the wages are earned.
7.
For wages in the case of any other person.
Three years
When the wages accrue due.
8.
For the price of food or drink sold by the keeper of a hotel, tavern or lodging house.
Three years
When the food or drink is delivered
9.
For the price of lodging
Three years
When the price becomes payable .
10.
Against a carrier for compensation for non-delivery of or delay in delivering goods.
Three years
When the loss or injury occurs.
11.
Against a carrier for compensation for losing or injuring goods.
Three years
When the goods ought to be delivered.
12.
For the hire of animals, vehicles, boats or household furniture.
Three years
When the hire becomes payable.
13.
For the balance of money advance in payment of goods to be delivered.
Three years
When the goods ought to be delivered.
14.
For the price of goods sold and delivered when no fixed period of credit is agreed upon.
Three years
The date of delivery of the goods.
15.
For the price of goods sold and delivered to be paid for after the expiry of a fixed period of credit.
Three years
When the period of credit expires.
16.
For the price of goods sold and delivered to be paid for by a bill of exchange, no such bill being given.
Three years
When the period of the proposed bill elapses.
17.
For the price of trees or growing crops sold by the plaintiff to the defendant where not fixed period of credit is agreed upon.
Three years
The date of the sale.
18.
For the price of work done by the plaintiff for the defendant at his request, where no time has been fixed for payment.
Three years
When the work is done.
19.
For money payable for money lent.
Three years
When the loan is made.
20.
Like suit when the lender has given a cheque for the money.
Three years
When the cheque is paid.
21.
For money lent under an agreement that it shall be payable on demand.
Three years
When the loan is made.
22.
For money deposited under an agreement that it shall be payable on demanded, including money of a customer in the hands of his banker so payable.
Three years
When the demand is made.
23.
For money payable by the defendant to he plaintiff for money received by the defendant, for the plaintiff's use.
Three years
When the money is paid.
24.
For money payable to the plaintiff for money paid for the defendant.
Three years
When the money is received.
25.
For money payable for interest upon money due from the defendant to the plaintiff.
Three years
When the interest becomes due.
26.
For money payable to the plaintiff for money found to be due from the fedendant to the plaintiff on accounts stated between them
Three years
When the accounts are stated in writing signed by the defendant or his agent duly Authorised in this behalf, unless where the debt is, by a simultaneous agreement in writing signed as aforesaid made payment at a future time, and then when that time arrives.
27.
For compensation for breach of a promise to do anything at a specified time, or upon the happening of a specified contingency.
Three years
When the time specified arrives or the contingency happens.
28.
On a single bond where a day is specified for payment
Three years
The day so specified.
29.
On a single bond, where no such day is specified.
Three years
The date of executing the bond.
30.
On a bond subject to a condition
Three years
When the condition is broken.
31.
On a bill of exchange or promissory-note payable at a fixed time after date.
Three years
When the bill or note falls due.
32.
On a bill of exchange payable at sight, or after sight but not at a fixed time.
Three years
When the bill is presented.
33.
On a bill of exchange accepted payable at a particular place.
Three years
When the bill is presented at that place.
34.
On a bill of exchange or promissory-note payable at a fixed time after sight or after demand.
Three years
When the fixed time expires.
35.
On a bill of exchange or promissory note payable on demand and not accompanied by any writing restraining or postponing the right to sue.
Three years
The date of the bill or note.
36.
On a promissory-note or bond payable by installments.
Three years
The expiration of the first term of payment as to the part then payable; and for the other parts, the expiration of the respective terms of payment.
37.
On a promissory-note or bond payable by installments which provides that, if default be made in payment of one or more installments, the whole shall be due.
Three years
When the default is made unless where the payee or obligee waives the benefit of the provision and then when fresh default is made in respect of which there is no such waiver.
38.
On a promissory-note given by the maker to a third person to be delivered to the payee after a certain event should happen.
Three years
The date of the delivery to the payee.
39.
On a dishonored foreign bill where protest have been made and notice given.
Three years
When the notice is given.
40.
By the payee against the drawer of a bill of exchange, which has been dishonored by non-acceptance.
Three years
The date of refusal to accept.
41.
By the acceptor of an accommodation-bill against the drawer.
Three years
When the acceptor pays.
42.
By a surety against the principal debtor.
Three years
When the surety pays the creditor.
43.
By a survey against a crusty.
Three years
When the surety pays anything in excess of his own share.
44.
(a)
On a policy of insurance when the sum insured is payable after proof of the death has been given to or received by the insurers.
Three years
The date of the death of the deceased, or where the claim on the policy is denied, either partly or wholly, the date of such denial.
44. (b)
On a policy of insurance when the sum insured is payable after proof of the loss has been given to or received by the insurers.
Three years
The date of the occurrence causing the loss, or where the claim on the policy is denied either partly or wholly, the date of such denial.
45.
By the assured to recover preemie paid under a policy violable at the election of the insurers.
Three years
When the insurers elect to avoid the policy.
46.
Under the Indian Succession Act,1925 (39 of 1925), section 360 of Sec. 361, to compel a refund by a person to whom an executor or administrator has paid a legacy or distributed assets.
Three years
The date of the payment or distribution.
47.
For money paid upon on existing consideration which afterwards fails.
Three years
The date of failure.
48.
For contribution by a party who has paid the whole or more then his share of the amount due under a joined decree, or by a sharer in a joint estate who has paid the whole or more than his share of the amount of revenue due from himself and his co-sharers.
Three years
The date of the payment in excess of the plaintiff's own share.
49.
By a co-trustee to enforce against the estate of a deceased trustee a claim for contribution.
Three years
When the right to contribution accrues.
50.
By the manager of joint estate of an undivided family for contribution, in respect of payment made by him on account of the estate.
Three years
The date of the payment.
51.
For the profits of immovable property belonging to the plaintiff which have been wrongfully received by the defendant.
Three years
When the profits are received.
52.
For arrears of rent.
Three years
When the arrears become due.
53.
By a vendor of immovable property for personal payment of up-paid purchase money.
Three years
The time fixed for completing the sale, or (where the title is accepted after the time fixed for completion) the date of the acceptance.
54.
For specific performance of a contract.
Three years
The date of fixed for the performance, or, if no such date is fixed, when the plaintiff has notice that performance is refused.
55.
For compensation for the breach of any contract, express or implied, not herein specially provided for.
Three years
When the contract is broken or (where there are successive breaches) when the breach in respect of which the suit is instituted occurs or (where the breach is continuing) when it ceases.










56.
To declare the forgery of an instrument issued or registered.
Three years
When the issue or registration becomes known to the plaintiff.
57.
To obtain a declaration that an alleged adoption is invalid, or never, in fact, took place.
Three years
When the alleged adoption becomes known to the plaintiff.
58.
To obtain any other declaration.
Three years
When the right to sue first accrues.
59.
To cancel or set aside an instrument or decree or for the rescission of a contract.
Three years
When the facts entitling the plaintiff to have the instrument or decree cancelled or set aside or the contract rescinded first becomes known to him.
60.
To set aside a transfer of property made by the guardian of a ward


(a)
By the ward who has attained majority;
Three years
When the ward attains majority.
(b)
By the ward's legal representative
Three years

When the ward dies within three years from the date of attaining majority;

When the ward attains majority.
When the ward dies before attaining majority
Three years
When the ward dies.
61.
By a mortgagor -


(a) to redeem or recover, possession of immovable property mortgaged;
Thirty years
When the right to redeem or to recover possession accrues.
(b) to recover possession of immovable property mortgaged and afterwards transferred by the mortgage for a valuable consideration.
Twelve years
When the transfer becomes known to plaintiff.
(c) to recover surplus collection received by the mortgage after the mortgage has been satisfied.
Three years
When the mortgagor reenters on the mortgaged property.

62.
To enforce payment of money secured by a mortgage or otherwise charged upon immovable property.
Twelve years
When the money sued for becomes due.
63.
By a mortgage


(a) for foreclosure;
Thirty years
When the money secured by the mortgage becomes due.
(b) for possession of immovable property mortgaged.
Twelve years
When the mortgage becomes entitled to possession.
64.
For possession of immovable property based on previous possession and not on title, when the plaintiff while in possession of the property has been dispossessed.
Twelve years
The date of dispossession.
65.
For possession of immovable property or any interest therein based on title.
Twelve years
When the possession of the defendant becomes adverse to the plaintiff.
Explanation - for the purposes of this article -

(a) Where the suit is by a remainder-man, a reversionary (other than a landlord); or a devisee the possession of the defendant shall be deemed to become adverse only when the estate of the remainder man, reversionary or devisee, as the case may be falls into possession;
(b) Where the suit is by a Hindu or Muslim entitled to the possession of immovable property on the death of a Hindu or Muslim female the possession of the defendant shall be deemed to become adverse only when the female dies.
(c) Where the suit is by a purchaser at a sale in execution of a decree when the judgment-debtor was out of possession at the date of the sale, the purchaser shall be deemed to be a representative of the judgment-debtor who was out of possession.
66.
For possession of immovable property when the plaintiff has become entitled to possession by reason of any forfeiture or breach of condition.
Twelve years
When the forfeiture is incurred or the condition is broken.
67.
By a landlord to recover possession from a tenant.
Twelve years
When the tenancy is determined.
68.
For specific movable property lost, or acquired by theft, or dishonest misappropriation or conversion.
Three years
When the person having the right to the possession of the property first learns in whose possession it is.
69.
For other specific movable property.
Three years
When the property is wrongfully taken.
70.
To recover movable property deposited or pawned from a depositary or pawnee.
Three years
The date of refusal after demand.
71.
To recover movable property deposited or pawned, and afterwards brought from the deposited or pawned, and afterwards brought from the depositary or pawnee for a valuable consideration.
Three years
When the sale becomes known to the plaintiff.
72.
For compensation for doing or for omitting to do an act alleged to be in pursuance of any enactment in force for the time being in the territories to which this Act extends.
One year
When the act or omission takes place.
73.
For compensations for false imprisonment.
One year
When the imprisonment ends.
74.
For compensation for malicious prosecution.
One year
When the plaintiff is acquitted or the prosecution is otherwise terminated.
75.
For compensation for libel.
One year
When the libel is published.
76.
For compensation for slander.
One year
When the words are spoken or if the words are not actionable in themselves, when the special damage complained of results.
77.
For compensation for loss of service occasioned by the seduction of the plaintiff's servant or daughter.
One year
When the loss occurs.
78.
For compensation for inducing a person to break a contract with the plaintiff.
One year
The date of the breach.
79.
For compensation for an illegal, irregular or excessive distress.
One year
The date of the distress.
80.
For compensation for wrongful seizure or movable property under legal process.
One year
The date of the seizure.
81.
By executors, administrators or representatives under the Legal Representatives Suits Act,1855.
One year
The date of the death of the person wronged.
82.
By executors, administrators or representatives under the Indian Fatal Accidents Act,1855.
Two years
The date of the death of the person killed.
83.
Under the Legal Representative Suits Act,1855 against an executor, and administrator or any other representative.
Two years
When the wrong complained of is done.
84.

Against one who, having a right to use property for specific purposes, perverts it to other purposes.
Two years
When the perversion first becomes known to the person injured thereby.
85.
For compensation for obstructing a way or a water course.
Three years
The date of the obstruction.
86.
For compensation for diverting a water course.
 Three years
The date of the diversion.
87.
For compensation for trespass upon immovable property.
Three years
The date of the trespass.
88.
For compensation for infringing copyright or any other exclusive privilege.
Three years
The date of the infringement.
89.
To restrain waste.
Three years
When the waste begins.
90.
For compensation for injury caused by an injunction wrongfully obtained.
Three years
When the injunction ceases.
91.
For compensation -



(a) for wrongfully taking or detaining any specific movable property lost, or acquired by theft, or dishonest misappropriation or conversion.
Three years
When the person having the right to the possession of the property first learns in whose possession it is.
(b) for wrongfully taking or injuring or wrongfully detaining any other specific movable property.
Three years
When the property is wrongfully taken or injured, or when the detainee's possession becomes unlawful.
92.
To recover possession of immovable property conveyed or bequeathed in trust and afterwards transferred by the trustee for a valuable consideration.
Twelve years
When the transfer becomes known to the plaintiff.
93.
To recover possession of immovable property conveyed or bequeathed in trust and afterwards transferred by the trustee for a valuable consideration.
Three years
When the transfer becomes known to the plaintiff.
94.
To set aside a transfer to immovable property comprised in a Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist religious or charitable endowment, made by a manager thereof for a valuable consideration.
Twelve years
When the transfer becomes known to the plaintiff.
95.
To set aside a transfer of movable property comprised in a Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist religious or charitable endowment, made by a manager thereof for a valuable consideration.
Three years
When the transfer, becomes known to the plaintiff.
96.
By the manager of a Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist religious or charitable endowment to recover possession of movable or immovable property comprised in the endowment which has been transferred by a previous manager for a valuable consideration.
Twelve years
The date of death, resignation or removal of the transfer or the date of appointment of the plaintiff as manager of the endowment, whichever is later.
97.
To enforce a right of preemption whether the right is founded on law or general usage or on special contract.
One year
When the purchaser takes under the sale sought to be impeached, physical possession of the whole or part of the property sold, or, where the subject matter of the sale does not admit of physical possession of the whole or part of the property, when the instruments of sale is registered.
98.
By a person against whom an order referred to R.63 or rule 103 of Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or an order under section 28 of the Presidency Small Cause Courts Act,1882 has been made, to establish the right which he claims o the property comprised in the order.
One year
The date of the final order.
99.
To set aside a sale by a civil or revenue court or a sale for arrears of Government revenue or for any demand recoverable as such arrears.
One year
When the sale is confirmed or would otherwise have become final and conclusive had no such suit been brought.
100.
To alter or set aside any decision or order of a civil court any proceeding other than a suit of any act or order of an officer of Government in his official capacity.
One year
The date of the final decision or order by the court or the date of the act or order of the officer, as the case may.
101.
Upon a judgment including a foreign judgment, or a recognizance.
Three years
The date of the judgment or recognisance.
102.
For property which the plaintiff has conveyed while insane.
Three years
When the plaintiff is restored to sanity and has knowledge of the conveyance.
103.
To make good out of the general estate of a deceased trustee the loss occasioned by a breach of trust.
Three years
The date of the trustee's death or if the loss has not then resulted, the date of the loss.
104.
To establish a periodically recurring right.
Three years
When the plaintiff is first refused the enjoyment for the right.
105.
By a Hindu for arrears of maintenance.
Three years
When the arrears are payable.
106.
For a legacy or for a share of a residue bequeathed by a testator or for a distributive share of the property of an intestate against an executor or an administrator or an administrator or some other person legally charged with the duty of distributing the estate.
Twelve years
When the legacy or share becomes payable or deliverable.
107.
For possession of a hereditary office.
Explanation - A hereditary office is possessed when the properties thereof are usually received, or (if there are no properties) when the duties thereof are usually performed.
Twelve years
When the defendant takes possession of the office adversely to the plaintiff.
108.
Suit during the life of a Hindu r Muslim female by a Hindu or Muslim who, if the female died at the date of instituting the suit, would be entitled to the possession of land, to have an alienation of such land made by the female declared to be void except for her life or until her re-marriage.
Twelve years
The date of the alienation.
109.
By Hindu governed by Mitakshara Law to set aside his father's alienation or ancestral property.
Twelve years
When the Aileen takes possession of the property.
110.
By a person excluded from a joint-family property to enforce a right to share therein.
Twelve years
When the exclusion becomes known to the plaintiff.
111.
By or on behalf of any local authority for possession of any public street or road or any part thereof from which it has been dispossessed or of which it has discontinued the possession.
Thirty years
The date of the dispossession or discontinuance.
112.
Any suit (except a suit before the Supreme Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction) by or on behalf of the Central Government, or any State Government including the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Thirty years
When the period of limitation would begin to run under this Act against a like suit by a private person.
113.
Any suit for which no period of limitation is provided elsewhere in this Schedule.
Three years
When the right to sue accrues.

The inclusion of a debt in a Balance Sheet of a company registered under the Companies Act 1956, which is duly prepared and authenticated would amount to an admission of liability and therefore satisfies the requirement of law for a valid acknowledgement under section 18 of the limitation Act. Premier Rubber Co. versus KSSI Corporation 1980 Ker LT 504; Rampur Engg Co Ltd versus Raza Ali 1966 ALJ 385; J A Dixit versus Official Liquidator, AIR 1963 All 284; (1968) 2 Andh WR 567, AIR 1968 Raj 214; Raja of Vizianagaram versus Official Liquidator AIR 1952 Mad 136, 145, Col 1; (1987) 62 Com Cases 239 (Kar); (1967) 37 Com Cases 796 (Ker); (1998) 4 Comp LJ 519 (Delhi); Bhajan Singh Samra Versus Wimpy International Ltd [2011 (185) DLT 428].

Statutes of limitation, since they restrain a man from enforcing his rights must receive a strict construction. A document alleged to contain an acknowledgement of liability must be liberally construed. AIR 1919 Mad 941, 942; 1991 JLJ 263 (MP).

An application for winding up is not a suit or proceeding to enforce a mortgage or charge on immovable property. Therefore, the period of limitation under Article 62 of the Limitations Act, 1963 for presenting a winding up petition is 12 years from the date on which the mortgage debt becomes due. Pandam Tea Co Ltd, (1975) 45 Com Cases 67 (Cal)


Section 5 of the Limitation Act 1963, again gives the discretion to the Presiding Judicial Authority to condone the delay if the Applicant shows sufficient cause for delay in filing.

Some of the High Courts and Supreme Court observations on the exercise of judicial discretion, on condonation of delay.

The Hon'ble BOMBAY HIGH COURT, thru Hon'ble Judges:B.B.Vagyani, J. In Sonerao Sadashivrao Patil Versus Godawaribai W/o Laxmansingh Gahirewar, Stated-

This Civil Revision Application, Latur raises a question as to how the concept of sufficient cause in the matter of condonation of delay is to be interpreted and what should be the approach of the Court in exercising the discretionary power in this behalf.

The discretion is given to the Court to condone delay and admit the Appeal in order that judicial power and discretion in that behalf should be exercised to advance substantial justice. If the spirit behind the empowerment of discretionary power on the Court is taken into consideration, it is beyond doubt clear that the Court is required to adopt liberal approach in the matter of interpretation of the phrase "sufficient cause". This concept is adequately elastic to enable the Court to apply law in a meaningful manner.


The Hon'ble BOMBAY HIGH COURT thru Hon'ble Judges:B.B.Vagyani, J. In Lalchand Manakchand Mehta Versus Neelamchand Harakchand Mehta said-

Para 9. The law of limitation is made to advance justice and not to destroy the rights of parties. While considering the prayer for condonation of delay, the Court is required to take liberal and pragmatic approach. The Court cannot reject the prayer for condonation of delay on hyper technicalities. In the case of Surajmal (cited supra), this Court has observed that Sec. 14 of the Limitation Act must be liberally construed.

This Court relying on the observations made in the case of Balkrishna Rajaram V/s. Baijnath Girdharilal, AIR 1939 Nagpur 150, has held that the liberal approach must be adopted while construing the provisions of Sec. 14 of the Limitation Act, In the light of ratio of Surajmal (cited supra), legal position boils to this that while interpreting the provisions of Sec. 14 of the Limitation Act, proper approach is required to be taken so to save the remedy than bar the proceeding.

Para 11. Thus it becomes plain that the expression "sufficient cause" within the meaning of Section 5 of the Act or Order 22 Rule 9 of the Code or any other similar provision should receive a liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice when no negligence or inaction or want of bona fide is imputable to a party. In a particular case whether explanation furnished would constitute "sufficient cause" or not will be dependant upon facts of each case. There cannot be a straitjacket formula for accepting or rejecting explanation furnished for the delay caused in taking steps. But one thing is clear that the Courts should not proceed with the tendency of finding fault with the cause shown and reject the petition by a slipshod order in over jubilation of disposal drive. Acceptance of explanation furnished should be the rule and refusal an exception more so when no negligence or inaction or want of bona fide can be imputed to the defaulting party. On the other hand, while considering the matter the Courts should not lose sight of the fact that by not taking steps within the time prescribed a valuable right has accrued to the other party which should not be lightly defeated by condoning delay in a routine like manner.

However, by taking a pedantic and hyper technical view of the matter the explanation furnished should not be rejected when stakes are high and/or arguable points of facts and law are involved in the case, causing enormous loss and irreparable injury to the party against whom the lies terminates either by default or inaction and defeating valuable right of such a party to have the decision on merit. While considering the matter, Courts have to strike a balance between resultant effect of the order it is going to pass upon the parties either way.

In Anantnag V/s. Mst. Katiji and others, AIR 1987 SC 1353, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has observed that the message with regard to liberal approach does not appear to have percolated down to all the other courts in the hierarchy. The following guidelines should be born in mind while interpreting the concept of sufficient cause:
(1) Litigant does not stand benefited by lodging an Appeal late;
(2) Refusal to condone may result in meritorious matters being thrown out at the very threshold and the cause of justice being defeated;
(3) In the matter of explanation of every days delay, pedantic approach should be avoided. Rational common sense pragmatic approach should be invariably adopted;
(4) Substantial justice is to be preferred against technical flaws;
(5) There is no presumption that delay is always deliberate;
(6) Injustice is to be removed.

The primary function of a Court is to adjudicate the disputes between the contesting parties and to advance substantial justice. It is to be born in mind that the rules of limitation are not made to harm the valuable rights of the parties. Reference with profit can also be made to the case of N. Balkrishnan V/s. M. Krishna Murthy, 1998 7 SCC


The Supreme Court has observed that the rules of limitation are not meant to destroy the rights of the parties. They are meant to see that the parties do not resort to dilatory tactics. The Supreme Court has further observed that Sec.5 of the Limitation Act does not say that the discretion given to the Court can be exercised only if delay is within a certain limit. Length of delay is not the matter, acceptability of explanation is the only criterion.


Section 9: speaks about the commecement and termination of time: ordinarily in computing time, the rule observed is to exclude the first day and to include the last day.
Rajubhai T Choithani versus State of Gujrat – (1989) 1 Guj LR 309 at p.311.

Section 14 and 21: Sampat Prakash versus State of J & K – AIR 1970 SC 1118. 


J Kumaradasan Nair & Anr Vs IRTC Sohan & Ors 2009 3 MLJ 522 SC
Sankar Dastidar v Shrimati Banjula Dastidar & Anr AIR 2007 SC 514
Seth Ramdayal Jat v Laxmi Prasad 2009 5 MLJ 992 SC
The State of West Bengal Vs The Administrator Howrah Municipality and Ors AIR1972SC749


Limitation bars only the remedy, but does not extinguish the rights, save as provided u/s 27 of the Act of 1963 – AIR 1957 Travco 174 – Mariyakutty versus Chaldean Syrian Bank Ltd;

Law of Limitation – Section 5 – Sufficient cause – (2012) 5 MhLJ 584; AIR 1962 SC 361

Limitation Act – Section 5 – AIR 2012 SC 1629(A) – Para 12


The law of limitation has been enacted extending a valuable right in favour of a party against whom within a period of limitation no action is brought before the Court, save in exceptional cases, where a case for condonation of delay is made out.
Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti Amroha versus Ganga Ram – AIR 1992 All 275 at 279.

Just impediment – laws of limitation –
AIR 1979 SC 1352;

Law of Limitation in Criminal Complaints – “Interests of Justice” –
S K Bajaj versus D K Bhattacharia – 1982 CrLJ 210 (Section 473 of CrPC, 1973)


Principles and objects restated (2005) 7 SCC 510, Paras 7, 8, 9 (The period of limitation…..);
Suit barred by law of limitation – averments in the Plaint can only be looked into to decide Application under O.7 R.11, Paras 10, 25
Section 5 – Sufficient cause – (2001) 9 SCC 105, Para 5 (In exercising jurisdiction under section 5 …)
Speaking Order in Application for condonation of delay – must – (2000) 10 SCC 538, Para 5;
Appeal delay – cannot be extended where……… AIR 1992 All 275, Para 32 (As observed above discussing………)
Section 5 – Sufficient cause – AIR 1972 SC 749, Paras 27, 30, 37, 37A

Article 14 of limitation Act 1908 does not apply to void and ultra vires Orders – it does not applies where jurisdiction has been usurped and the Order is ultra vires, an Order made without jurisdiction is a nullity and need not be set aside – AIR 1924 Cal 913

Sufficient cause under section 5 of Limitation Act –
AIR 1972 SC 749;
AIR 1972 SC 1973;
AIR 1992 SC 1540;
AIR 1934 All 163 and 43;

Section 40, 44 of Evidence Act r/w Article 95 of Limitation Act 1908
AIR 1955 Pat 66, Paras 13, 31, 21, 22, 25, 29, 30
AIR 1955 All 569, Paras 11, 12, 14, 16, 18
Article 14 of limitation Act 1908 does not apply to void and ultra vires Orders – it does not applies where jurisdiction has been usurped and the Order is ultra vires, an Order made without jurisdiction is a nullity and need not be set aside – AIR 1924 Cal 913


Condonation of delay – Revision, Appeal – (2012) 10 SCC 488
Condonation of delay – 2013 (1) All MR 163


Broadly Suits can be divided into 9 classes:

Suits relating to Accounts (1 to 5)
Suits relating to Contracts (6 to 55)
Suits relating to Declarations (56 to 58)
Suits relating to Decree and Instruments (59 to 60)
Suits relating to Immovable property (61 to 67)
Suits relating to Movable property (68 to 71)
Suits relating to Tort (72 to 91)
Suits relating to Trusts and Trusts property (92 to 96)



PART I - Suits Relating to Accounts




PART II - Suits relating to Contracts






PART III-Suits relating to Declarations






PART IV - Suits relating to Declarations.







PART V - Suits relating to Immovable Property







PART VI - Suits relating to movable property







PART VII - Suits relating to torts







PART VIII - Suits relating to trust and trust property






PART IX - Suits relating to miscellaneous matters




PART X - Suits for which there is no prescribed period




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