Supreme Court: After the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association approached the Court in light of the spread of Omicron, the new variant of the COVID-19 and the drastic surge in the number of COVID cases across the country, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and Surya Kant, JJ restored the order dated 23.03.2020 and directed that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi judicial proceedings.
The Court made clear that,
- The balance period of limitation remaining as on 03.10.2021, if any, shall become available with effect from 01.03.2022.
- In cases where the limitation would have expired during the period between 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining, all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022.
- In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply.
- The period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 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.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hot the World, on 23.03.2020, the Court had directed extension of the period of limitation in all proceedings before Courts/Tribunals including this Court w.e.f. 15.03.2020 till further orders. Read here
On 08.03.2021, the order dated 23.03.2020 was brought to an end, permitting the relaxation of period of limitation between 15.03.2020 and 14.03.2021. While doing so, it was made clear that the period of limitation would start from 15.03.2021. Read here
[IN RE: COGNIZANCE FOR EXTENSION OF LIMITATION, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 27, order dated 10.01.2022]