Supreme Court extends limitation period for filing cases under all laws across the country from 14.03.2021 in view of COVID-19

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday again extends the limitation period to file cases under all general and special laws across the country from March 14,2021 until further orders.

The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.”

For the past few weeks we have witnessed the second wave of COVID-19. It is an alarming situation, and put litigants to hardship. Thus, all limitation period which was relaxed till March 13, 2021 and ending on March 14, 2021 be extended until further orders,” the Court said.

The Court was hearing a plea by Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) seeking suspension of limitation period to file cases under all general and special laws in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

In this regard, SCAORA sought restoration of a March 2020, order of the top court whereby the Court had taken up the issue suo motu, directing the suspension of the limitation period in view of the difficulties faced by the litigants in approaching the courts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impleadment application filed through advocate Abhinav Ramkrishna stated that a quite large number of the staff of Supreme Court has been affected by the new variant of the Covid and thus it “becomes all the more necessary to restore the order dated March 23, 2020.”In March this year, the top court had ended the extension of limitation period under various laws granted last year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justifying its rationale behind ending the extension, the Court had stated the following in its order:

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 dated 15.03.2020 has served its purpose and in view of the changing scenario relating to the pandemic, the extension of limitation should come to an end.”However, the impleadment application seeking to restore the earlier order stated that it cannot be disputed that the public health is of utmost importance and “therefore the issue of limitation which may arise in certain cases is required to be relaxed in the light of the present situation.”