With the rapid rise yet again in COVID-19 cases including cases caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Supreme Court on January 10, 2022 has restored its previous orders that had extended the period of limitation. The Supreme Court, considering the recovery following the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, had earlier lifted the suspension of limitation in all matters, with effect from October 3, 2021. This is the third such extension since March 2020 and will now remain in force through February 28, 2022.
The order clarifies the computation of limitation as follows:
a. In computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal, application or proceeding, the period from March 15, 2020 till February 28, 2022 would be excluded. Consequently, any balance period of limitation remaining as on October 3, 2021, would become available with effect from March 1, 2022;
b. In those cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between March 15, 2020 to February 28, 2022, irrespective of the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all parties would have a limitation period of 90 days from March 1, 2022. However, if the actual balance period of limitation remaining with effect from March 1, 2022 is more than 90 days, the longer period would apply.
A conjoint reading of the previous orders of the Supreme Court in this regard indicates that any balance period of limitation remaining as on March 15, 2020, would become available with effect from March 1, 2022.
The Supreme Court also stated that the above extension will also apply to all proceedings instituted under any special law including the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.