Delay in approaching High Court in Writ Jurisdiction

Exercise of discretion by High Court in Writ Petition:

There is no doubt that the High Court in its discretionary jurisdiction may decline to exercise the discretionary writ jurisdiction on ground of delay in approaching the court. But it is only a rule of discretion by exercise of self ­restraint evolved by the court in exercise of the discretionary equitable jurisdiction and not a mandatory requirement that every delayed petition must be dismissed on the ground of delay. The Limitation Act stricto sensu does not apply to the writ jurisdiction. The discretion vested in the court under Article 226 of the Constitution therefore has to be a judicious exercise of the discretion after considering all pros and cons of the matter, including the nature of the dispute, the explanation for the delay, whether any third ­party rights have intervened etc.The jurisdiction under Article 226 being equitable in nature,questions of proportionality in considering whether the impugned order merits interference or not in exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction will also arise. This Court in Basanti Prasad vs. Bihar School Examination Board and others, (2009) 6 SCC791, after referring to Moon Mills Ltd. vs. Industrial Court, AIR1967 SC 1450, Maharashtra SRTC vs. Balwant RegularMotor Service, AIR 1969 SC 329 and State of M.P. and Others vs. Nandlal Jaiswal and others, (1986) 4 SCC 566, held that ifthe delay is properly explained and no third party rights are being affected, the writ court under Article 226 of the Constitution may condone the delay, holding as follows:

“18. In the normal course, we would not have taken exception to the order passed by the High Court.They are justified in saying that a delinquent employee should not be permitted to revive the stale claim and the High Court in exercise of its discretion would not ordinarily assist the tardy and indolent person. This is the traditional view and is well supported by a plethora of decisions of this Court.This Court also has taken the view that there is no inviolable rule, that, whenever there is delay the Court must refuse to entertain a petition. This Court has stated that the writ court in exercise of its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution may condone the delay in filing the petition, if the delay is satisfactorily explained.”

Indefinite black listing of a firm by Government

The aforesaid discussion, therefore, leads us to the conclusion that the writ petition was not barred by unexplained delay as the appellant had been pursuing the matter with the authorities and it is they who sat over it, triggering rejection of appellants tender by the Rajasthan Government on 05.07.2019 leading to the institution of the writ petition on 24.07.2019. The High Court therefore erred in dismissing the writ petition on grounds of delay. The illegality and the disproportionate nature of the order dated 08.09.2009, with no third party rights affected,never engaged the attention of the High Court in judicious exercise of the discretionary equitable jurisdiction.Consequently, the impugned order of the High Court as well as order dated 08.09.2009 of the respondents are set aside, and the appeal is allowed.


Delay in filing election petition

Application of Limitation Act, 1963 on Election Petition under Representation of People Act.


The first respondent filed an election petition in the first instance to which there was an objection to maintainability under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC. Confronted with the objection under Order 7 Rule 11, the first respondent obviated a decision thereon by withdrawing the election petition. The grant of liberty to file a fresh election petition cannot obviate the bar of limitation. The fresh election petition filed by the first respondent was beyond the statutory period of 30 days and was hence liable to be rejected. Continue reading “Delay in filing election petition”

Dismissal of suit on limitation in second appeal

The substantial question of law which was formulated by the High Court pertains to the limitation in filing the suit which reads as under:

Whether the suit in question was barred by time in as much as prayer sought in the plaint shows that cause of action arose in 1990 though the suit was filed in 2004 and admittedly the period of limitation is only three years.

Dismissal of suit as time barred:

Continue reading “Dismissal of suit on limitation in second appeal”

Limitation for revocation of Probate is three years

Application of Limitation Act to Probate Proceedings

Court in Kerala State Electricity Board, Trivandrum v. T.P. Kunhaliumma, AIR 1997 SC 282 has held that any application under any Act, including a Writ Petition under any Special Act will fall under within Article 137 of the Limitation Act and have a limitation period of three years.

“22. The changed definition of the words “applicant” and “application” contained in Section 2(a) and 2(b) of the 1963 Limitation Act indicates the object of the Limitation Act to include petitions, original or otherwise, under special laws. The interpretation which was given to Article 181 of the 1908 Limitation Act on the principle of ejusdem generis is not applicable with regard to Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation Act. Article 137 stands in isolation from all other Articles in Part I of the third division. This Court in Nityanada Joshi’s case (supra) has rightly thrown doubt on the two Judge Bench decision of this Court in Athani Municipal Council case (supra) where this Court construed Article 137 to be referable to applications under the Civil Procedure Code. Article 137 includes petitions within the word “applications.”

Continue reading “Limitation for revocation of Probate is three years”

Law of Limitation in India

Understanding Limitation Act, 1963

Every remedy has a period of limitation within which it can be invoked. The right to seek relief is extinguished after the period of limitation. In India the statute of limitation is called as Limitation Act which was enacted in the year 1963.

Though Act of 1963 is not the exclusive as remedies provided before various Tribunals under different statutes are governed by limitation under that statute yet the principles laid down in the cases decided in respect of Limitation Act would apply to those statutes as well.

This book covers the Limitation Act, 1963 and also the selected leading judgments of Supreme Court of India and Various High Courts of India. Wherever possible live links to judgments are provided.

The ebook is easily comprehensible by lawyers and laymen alike. Do use the feature of search to land at what you are looking for.

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Application of Limitation Act on Execution Proceedings

Objection application to Execution:

Execution proceedings are governed by Order 21 of

Civil Procedure Code 1908

Condonation of delay in seeking to set aside ex parte order:

Section 5 of the present Limitation Act, 1963, states that any appeal or any application under any of the provisions of Order 21, Civil Procedure Code, 1908, may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the appellant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period. The Explanation is omitted as unnecessary. Therefore, with reference to applications under Order 21, Civil Procedure Code, there is the statutory bar in applying section 5 of the Limitation Act.

Continue reading “Application of Limitation Act on Execution Proceedings”

Limitation for counter claim in Arbitration proceedings

Date of commencement of arbitration:

Section 3 of Limitation Act, 1963 specifies the date of institution for suit, but does not specify the date of `institution’ for arbitration proceedings. Section 21 of the Act supplies the omission. But for section 21, there would be considerable confusion as to what would be the date of `institution’ in regard to the arbitration proceedings. ….. In view of section 21 of the Act providing that the arbitration proceedings shall be deemed to commence on the date on which “the request for that dispute to be referred to arbitration is received by the respondent” the said confusion is cleared. Therefore the purpose of section 21 of the Act is to determine the date of commencement of the arbitration proceedings, relevant mainly for deciding whether the claims of the claimant are barred by limitation or not.


As far as counter claims are concerned, there is no room for ambiguity in regard to the relevant date for determining the limitation. Section 3(2)(b) of Limitation Act, 1963 provides that in regard to a counter claim in suits, the date on which the counter claim is made in court shall be deemed to be the date of institution of the counter claim. As Limitation Act, 1963 is made applicable to arbitrations, in the case of a counter claim by a respondent in an arbitral proceedings, the date on which the counter claim is made before the arbitrator will be the date of “institution” in so far as counter claim is concerned. There is, therefore, no need to provide a date of `commencement’ as in the case of claims of a claimant. Section 21 of the Act is therefore not relevant for counter claims. There is however one exception. Where the respondent against whom a claim is made, had also made a claim against the claimant and sought arbitration by serving a notice to the claimant but subsequently raises that claim as a counter claim in the arbitration proceedings initiated by the claimant, instead of filing a separate application under section 11 of the Act, the limitation for such counter claim should be computed, as on the date of service of notice of such claim on the claimant and not on the date of filing of the counter claim.

Appointment of arbitrator if reference of dispute?

Section 11 of the Act requires the Chief Justice or his designate only to appoint the arbitrator/s. It does not require the Chief Justice or his designate to identify the disputes or refer them to the Arbitral Tribunal for adjudication. Where the appointment procedure in an arbitration agreement requires disputes to be formulated and specifically referred to the arbitrator and confers jurisdiction upon the arbitrator to decide only such referred disputes, when an application is filed under section 11(6) of the Act, alleging that such procedure is not followed, the Chief Justice or his designate will take necessary measures under section 11(6) of the Act to ensure compliance by the parties with such procedure. Where the arbitration agreement requires the disputes to be formulated and referred to arbitration by an appointing authority, and the appointing authority fails to do so, the Chief Justice or his designate will direct the appointing authority to formulate the disputes for reference as required by the arbitration agreement. The assumption by the courts below that a reference of specific disputes to the Arbitrator by the Chief Justice or his designate is necessary while making appointment of arbitrator under section 11 of the Act, is without any basis. Equally baseless is the assumption that where one party filed an application under section 11 and gets an arbitrator appointed the arbitrator can decide only the disputes raised by the applicant under section 11 of the Act and not the counter claims of the respondent.

Section 23 of the Act enables the claimant to file a statement of claim stating the facts supporting his claim, the points at issue and the relief or remedy sought by him and enables the respondent to state his defence in respect of those claims. Section 2(9) provides that if any provision [other than section 25 (a) or section 32(2)(a)], refers to a “claim”, it shall apply to a “counter claim” and where it refers to a “defence”, it shall also apply to a defence to that counter claim. This would mean that a respondent can file a counter claim giving the facts supporting the counter claim, the points at issue and the relief or remedy sought in that behalf and the claimant (who is the respondent in the counter claim) will be entitled to file his defence to such counter claim. Once the claims and counter claims are before the arbitrator, the arbitrator will decide whether they fall within the scope of the arbitration agreement and whether he has jurisdiction to adjudicate on those disputes (whether they are claims or the counter claims) and if the answer is in the affirmative, proceed to adjudicate upon the same.

[Source: State of Goa vs. Pravin Enterprises, 2012 (12) SCC 581 followed in Voltas India Ltd. vs. Rolta India Ltd. (SC on 14 Feb. 2014)]

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