• SC extended the limitation period w.r.t. filing of cases/appeals until further orders due to COVID-19 surge

    The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Re: Cognizance for extension of limitation [Miscellaneous Application No. 665/2021 in SMW(C) No. 3/2020, dated April 27, 2021] extended the limitation period for the filing of cases in Courts and Tribunals w.e.f. March 14, 2021 until further orders in view of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases due to second wave of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

    Background:

    Earlier the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide Order dated March 23, 2020 directed that the period of limitation in filing petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings, irrespective of the period of limitation prescribed under the general or special laws, shall stand extended with effect from March 15, 2020 till further orders.

    Thereafter on March 8, 2021 the Hon’ble Supreme Court noticed that the country is returning to normalcy and since all the Courts and Tribunals have started functioning either physically or by virtual mode and therefore the extension of limitation was regulated and brought to an end from March 15, 2021.

    Now, Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association (“SCAORA”) through this Interlocutory Application highlighted the daily surge in COVID cases in Delhi and the difficulties faced by the litigants. Consequently, prayed for restoration of the Order dated March 23, 2020.

    Held:

    The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Miscellaneous Application No. 665/2021 in SMW(C) No. 3/2020, dated April 27, 2021 held as under:

    • Observed that, the steep rise in COVID-19 virus cases is not limited to Delhi alone but it has engulfed the entire nation. The extraordinary situation caused by the sudden and second outburst of COVID-19 virus, thus, required extraordinary measures to minimize the hardship of litigant–public in all the states.
    • Restored the Order dated March 23, 2020 in continuation of Order dated March 8, 2021 and directed that, the period(s) of limitation, as prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended till further orders.
    • Clarified that the period from March 14, 2021 till further orders 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.
    • Listed the matter on July 19, 2021 for hearing.


    Our comments:

    Recently, the Commercial Taxes Department of Chennai vide Instruction No. P/35/2021/-ADC(RC and M)-CCT-CTD, dated April 7, 2021, has issued instructions in light of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Re: Cognizance for extension of limitation [Suo Motu WP (C) No. 3 of 2020 decided on March 8, 2021] to grant various relaxations to assessees whose GSTIN has been cancelled during March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021 which shall now stand extended vide above-mentioned Order dated April 27, 2021 till further orders.

    To know more, kindly watch our video on “SC: Period of Limitation extended till Further Order…Applicability in GST” by CA Bimal Jain at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X_8wi3bEaA

    DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are strictly of the author and A2Z Taxcorp LLP. The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the author nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this article nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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