RESEARCH PROJECT ON

“DELAY/LACHES/LIMITATIONS”

SUBMITTED TO: Prof. ANIL UPADHYAY (DRAFTING, PLEADING AND CONVEYANCING) SUBMITTED BY: malvika singh Roll No.336

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS ...................................................................................................... 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................ 3 I. Introduction .......................................................................................................... 5

II. DOCTRINE OF LACHES .............................................................................................. 6 III. Doctrine of Estoppels ........................................................................................ 7 IV. Major types .......................................................................................................... 8 V. Elements of Laches ............................................................................................. 9 VI. Laches and Acquiescence ................................................................................ 12 VII. LAW OF LIMITATION ............................................................................................... 14 VIII.BAR OF LIMITATION ............................................................................................... 17 IX. Judicial Actions ................................................................................................. 18 X. CONCLUSION……………………………………………..………………………………………………………20 BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................................. 21

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3|Page . THE WRITING STYLE IS DESCRIPTIVE AND ANALYTICAL. IT IS BASED ON THE DOCTRINAL METHOD OF RESEARCH. I MAY HAVE MISSED UPON CERTAIN ISSUES WHICH I CERTAINLY REGRET ABOUT. THE LIMITATION OF MY PROJECT IS THAT MY TOPIC BEING A VERY WIDE ONE. IT IS THE VIEW EXPRESSED BY DIFFERENT PERSONS. CASE LAWS AND LEGISLATIONS. THE PROJECT HAS BEEN DONE AFTER A THOROUGH RESEARCH BASED UPON INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC ASPECT OF THE ASSIGNED TOPIC. PARTIES AND ASSOCIATIONS. THE SEGMENTS ARE STRUCTURED AND WRITTEN ACTIVELY.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY THIS PROJECT IS BASED MAINLY AND HEAVILY ON WRITTEN TEXT MATERIAL.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THE RESEARCH ON “DELAY/LACHES/LIMITATIONS” IS A PART OF DRAFTING. I AM GRATEFUL TO THE SUBJECT FACULTY. PLEADING AND CONVEYANCING SEMESTER ASSIGNMENT. THIS ASSIGNMENT IS A COMPILATION OF HISTORICAL TO CONTEMPORARY EMERGENCE ON THE SUBJECT AREA OF RESEARCH I. FOR DEPUTING ME TO RESEARCH UNDER HIS GUIDANCE. PROF.E“DELAY/LACHES/LIMITATIONS” 4|Page . ANIL UPADHYAY. MY HUMBLE REGARDS TO THE AUTHORS WHOSE WORK HAS BEEN REFERRED AND IS MENTIONED IN THE BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Thomson West Publishers. Nine West Group. which means that the burden of asserting laches is on the party responding to the claim to which it applies.Y. 2001 WL 736794. Put another way. 452 F. Simons v. in part. Introduction Laches 1 is an ―unreasonable delay pursuing a right or claim. In Latin.I. “Black’s Law Dictionary”. on laches where papers “reveal no reason for the inordinate and prejudicial delay”) 5|Page .‖ and that.D. not the sleeping ones (that is.‖ 2 1 Edited by. A successful defense of laches will find the court denying the request for equitable relief. The French Philosophers ones said in the way of defining Laches as being: “Vigilantibus non dormientibus æquitas subvenit. 8th Edition. it is an equitable defense. Laches is a form of estoppel for delay. Garner. those who sleep on their rights. even if equitable relief is not available. Under the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However. United States. and where it is clear that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts to avoid the insuperable bar. *3 (S. 2004. ―When the defense of laches is clear on the face of the complaint. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has ―slept on its rights. failure to assert one‘s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim‘s being barred by laches. or doctrine.N. June 29. Bryan A.” Equity aids the vigilant. a court may consider the defense on a motion to dismiss. as a result of this delay. 2001). the party may still have an action at law if the statute of limitations has not run out.2d 1110. circumstances have changed such that it is no longer just to grant the plaintiff‘s original claim. When asserted in litigation. 1116 (2d Cir. laches is an affirmative defense.‖ In a way that prejudices the [opposing] party. 2 Solow v. 1971) (affirming Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal based.

In certain types of cases (for example. A defense lawyer raising the defense of laches against a motion for injunctive relief (a form of equitable relief) might argue that the plaintiff comes ―waltzing in at the eleventh hour‖ when it is now too late to grant the relief sought. taken together with lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to adverse party. a delay of even a few days is likely to be met with a defense of laches. In most contexts. 345 N. or evidence or testimony may no longer be available to defend against the claim. DOCTRINE OF LACHES ―Doctrine of laches‖ is based upon maxim that equity aids the vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights. cases involving time-sensitive matters. such as elections).II. or the property in question may already have been sold. the defendant is in a worse position now than at the time the claim should have been brought. operates as bar in court of equity. v. 6|Page .3d 334. to do what in law. It is defined as neglect to assert a right or claim which. 3 . the delay in asserting the claim may have caused a great increase in the potential damages to be awarded. should have been done.3 The neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time under circumstances permitting diligence.2d. Mathews. even where the applicable statute of limitations might allow the type of action to be commenced within a much longer time period. 186. an essential element of laches is the requirement that the party invoking the doctrine has changed its position as a result of the delay. 37 Ill. at least not without causing great harm that the plaintiff could have avoided. For example. or assets that could earlier have been used to satisfy the claim may have been distributed in the meantime. In other words. 189.E. Wooded Shores Property Owners Ass’n Inc. App.

referring to placing a halt on the imbalance of the situation.III. meaning ―stop up. because a man‘s own act or acceptance stoppeth or closeth up his mouth to allege or plead the truth. Because estoppel is so factually dependent. either express or implied. which meant ―stopper plug‖. The term is related to the verb ―estop‖ which comes from the Old French term estopper. acts. in contemplation of law. 7|Page . Lord Coke stated. impede. or representations. been established as the truth.‖ This term appears to come from the Old French estoupail (or variation). The defendant is said to be ―estopped‖ from presenting the related defence. or by his own deed. either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers. or the plaintiff is said to be ―estopped‖ from making the related argument against the defendant. that party is said to be ―estopped‖ from making certain related arguments or claiming certain related rights. ―It is called an estoppel or conclusion. Doctrine of Estoppels Estoppel in its broadest sense is a legal term referring to a series of legal and equitable doctrines that preclude ―a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has. it is perhaps best understood by considering specific examples.‖ Where a court finds that a party has done something warranting a form of estoppel.

Laches—estoppels in equity by delay. Vol 16(2). Under English law. promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel4. 5. Promissory estoppels. 8. Major types The main species of estoppel under English. Estoppel by representation of fact (English law name). 6. Proprietary estoppels 4. Estoppel by record—This frequently arises as issue/cause of action estoppel or judicial estoppel where the orders or judgments made in previous legal proceedings prevent the parties from relitigating the same issues or causes of action. The party who performed/spoke is the one who is estopped. Estoppel by deed (often regarded as technical or formal estoppels)—Where rules of evidence prevent a litigant from denying the truth of what was said or done 7. equitable estoppel (American law) 2. Laches has been considered both a reliance-based estoppel. Australian. and such silence put another person at a disadvantage. Reliance-based estoppels—these involve one party relying on something the other party has done or said. and American laws are: 1. and a sui generis estoppels. Equitable estoppel (in English law) 3. 2003) 8|Page . this class includes estoppels by representation of fact. 4 (See Halsbury’s Laws of England. Although some authorities have used language to suggest reliance-based estoppels are mere rules of evidence. Estoppel by silence—Estoppel that prevents a person from asserting something when he had the right and opportunity to do so earlier. they are rules of substantive law.IV.

paid. Neglect to assert a right or claim. Elements of Laches 1. or judicial relief. where the court orders a party to do or not to do something. sought by the plaintiff. and accounting. Unreasonable lapse of time:A defense to an equitable action that bars recovery by the plaintiff because of the plaintiff‘s undue delay in seeking relief. 2. Unreasonable lapse of time. which serve as broad statements of principle. The basis of equity is contained in the Maxim ―Equity will not suffer an injustice. and held.V. and weigh equitable principles against the facts of the case to determine whether relief is warranted. Generally. If these three elements are met. law cases involve a problem that can be solved by the payment of monetary damages. where the court declares the rights of the two parties to a controversy. Equity cases involve remedies directed by the court against a party. declaratory relief. 3. where the court orders a detailed written statement of money owed. Types of equitable relief include Injunction. The rules of equity are built on a series of legal maxims. 9|Page .If an adverse party unreasonably delays informing you of a right or claim and this results in permanent damage to your ability to defend your self then such a claim may be barred from court.‖ Other maxims present reasons for not granting equitable relief. then the Doctrine of Laches will act as a bar in court. Laches is a defense to a proceeding in which a plaintiff seeks equitable relief. To the detriment of another. 1. Cases in Equity are distinguished from cases at law by the type of remedy. the truth and reasonableness of which are self-evident. Courts have complete discretion in equity. Laches is one such defense.

Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee5. the United States Supreme Court decided that when a court orders a party to produce proof on a certain point. An example of a written waiver is a disclaimer. certain arguments must be raised in the first objection that a party submits to the court. While a waiver is often in writing. Neglect to assert a right or claim:- A neglect to assert a right or claim may operate as a right to waiver. 694 (1982) 10 | P a g e . A waiver is the voluntary relinquishment or surrender of some known right or privilege. the court may deem that refusal to 5 . and that party refuses to comply with the court‘s order. • Waivers generally must be made voluntarily and with the full knowledge (or the ability to know) of the right being waived. it may be necessary that the parties to the waiver have equal bargaining power.S. one may not prospectively waive liability for some or all intentional activities. • A waiver may have limited application where one contracts for an ―essential service‖ such that it may violate public policy for liability to be waived. releases. In this case. • In the case of Insurance Corp. • In some jurisdictions (not including the United States). sometimes a person‘s actions can act as a waiver. or hold harmless clauses. In civil procedure.2. 456 U. Key factors that some courts (depending on jurisdiction) may look at when determining the applicability of a waiver: • In some jurisdictions. Sometimes the elements of ―voluntary‖ and ―known‖ are established by a legal fiction. The following represent a general overview of considerations. or else they will be deemed waived. specifics may vary dramatically depending on the jurisdiction. Other names for waivers are exculpatory clauses. of Ireland v. one is presumed to know one‘s rights and that those rights are voluntarily relinquished if not asserted at the time. • The waiver should be unambiguous and clear to a reasonable person. which becomes a waiver when accepted.

And if the petitioner comes to know about the same after the lapse of reasonable time it might be the case of laches and the court may may presume the same. 3. because the court lacked jurisdiction. the defendant had argued that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over it but refused a court order to produce evidence of this lack of jurisdiction. just as if it had never contested jurisdiction at all. 11 | P a g e .be a waiver of the right to contest that point and assume that the proof would show whatever the opposing party claims that it would. The Supreme Court rejected that argument and determined that the defendant‘s refusal to comply waived the right to contest jurisdiction. the court had no authority to issue an order to show proof of the lack of jurisdiction. • In that court case. The defendant argued the circular logic that.In the event of causing loss of marriage of the defendant the petitioner may not present the original photographs of the marriage so that the marriage is held null and void. To the detriment of another:- In the happening of an event when the disadvantage of the party allows the other party to not to assert the right or the claim within the reasonable time happens to be an element of laches.

the effect of which is that even if there is some delay in enforcing the statutory right. this Court held that registration of a trademark gives an exclusive right of use to the proprietor of the registered trademark with the condition that if there is a user prior to the date of registration. It is the duty of the Court to protect a registered trademark because in such a case the public is deceived into purchasing the defendant‘s goods on the belief that they are the plaintiff‘s goods. then that user may continue. It was further held that a delay in the matter of seeking an injunction may be a ground for refusing it in certain circumstances but a statutory right cannot be lost by delay. consenting by remaining silent. It was observed that mere delay in bringing an action is not sufficient to defeat the grant of an injunction in such cases. In Swaran Singh Trading as Appliances Emporium v. and Anr. relates to the failure in objecting to the use of the label and to the registration of the label as a trademark while laches is the undue delay in asserting a right or bringing a suit or complaint which may be used as a defense if loss or prejudice is proved to have been caused by the plaintiff‘s delay.VI. M/s Usha Industries (India) New Delhi7. The principles governing other types of injunctions are not to be readily applied to the infringement of a trademark. Sudhir Bhatia 6 held that in cases of infringement of a trademark or a copyright. Acquiescence implies positive acts. If there is honest concurrent use by the defendant. then inordinate 6 7 ((2004) 3 SCC 90) (AIR 1986 Delhi 343) 12 | P a g e . v. The defence of laches or inordinate delay is a defence in equity. the exclusive right of user cannot be lost. The Supreme Court in Midas Hygiene Industries (P) Ltd. it is well settled that normally an injunction must follow. a course of conduct inconsistent with the claim for exclusive right. The grant of an injunction also becomes necessary if it prima facie appears that the adoption of the infringed trademark was dishonest. Laches and Acquiescence Acquiescence. An injunction cannot be refused even if there is some delay in such a case because that would tantamount to permitting a fraud being practiced on unwary customers.

it be removed from the register. which was dismissed by the learned Single Judge and also in appeal on the ground that the plaintiff ably satisfied the court that non-use of the trademark was due to special circumstances in the trade..8 The defendants had filed another suit which alleged that as the plaintiff did not use the trademark ‗Fedders‘ for a period of more than 5 years. Ltd. 8 M/s Hindustan Pencils Pvt.delay and laches may defeat the claim of damages or rendition of account but the relief of injunction should not be refused keeping in mind the interest of the general public. 13 | P a g e . M/s India Stationery Products Co. and Ors. AIR 1990 Delhi 19. v.

It is. the day from which such period is to be reckoned. says that in computing the period of limitation for any suit. It's basically meant to protect the long and established user and to indirectly punish persons who go into a long slumber over their rights. In civil matters. the limit is provided in Limitation Act. any time taken by the court to prepare the decree or order before an application for a copy thereof is made shall not be excluded. And finally took the form of Limitation Act in 1963. The 'Law of Limitation' prescribes the time-limit for different suits within. provided that Courts of Law cannot be approached beyond fixed period. The very first Limitation Act was enacted for all courts in India in 1859. provides the period of filing up appeals. It says that in computing the period of limitation for any suit. similarly. The suit. Lexis Nexis. For instance. the day on which the judgment complained of was pronounced and the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the decree. if filed after the exploration of time-limit. The Limitation Act. the time during which the plaintiff has been prosecuting in civil proceedings. A citizen is not expected to master the various provisions which provide for limitation in different matters but certain basic knowledge in this regard is necessary. It states that the appeals against a decree or order can be filed in a High Court within ninety days and in any other court in thirty days from the date of the decree or order appealed against. However. but does not prescribe a period of limitation for filing an appeal. 13 th edition . therefore. 1963. 2011 . appeal or application. however. shall be excluded. 1963.VII. whether in a court of first instance or of appeal or revision against the defendant shall be excluded where the 9 Justice S A Kader’s Law of Limitation and Prescription . Further. LAW OF LIMITATION The Code of Civil Procedure confers a right to appeal.9 The statutory law was established in stages. Section 14 of the act. which an aggrieved person can approach the court for redress or justice. sentence or order appealed from shall be excluded. Section 12 of the Limitation Act lays down certain guidelines regarding computation of limitation period. is struck by the law of limitation. 14 | P a g e .

(i) in an ordinary case. you cannot enforce your rights in a court. Some other Acts such as the Consumer Protection Act also prescribe limitation periods In the bare act:Bar of limitation (1) Subject to the provisions contained in sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) every suit instituted. (1) For the purposes of this Act. (a) A suit is instituted. For example. shall be treated as a separate suit and shall be deemed to have been instituted(i) in the case of a set-off.proceedings relate to the same matter in a court which is unable to entertain it on account of defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature. 15 | P a g e . appeal preferred. when the plaint is presented to the proper officer. you should approach the court within three years from the date you lent the money. on the dame date as the suit in which the set off is pleaded. and (ii) in the case of a claim against a company which is being wound up by the court. when his application for leave to sue is a pauper is made. if somebody has borrowed your money and not returned it. If you don't go to the court within that time. and application made after the prescribed period shall be dismissed although limitation has not been set up as defense. when the claimant first sends in his claim to the official liquidator. After the limitation period. (ii) in the case of a pauper. This is called the limitation period. (b) any claim by way of a set-off or a counter claim. What does limitation period mean? The law prescribes different periods within which a person who has a grievance should go to court. The Limitation Act 1963prescribes different limitation periods for different kinds of claims. the courts will not be of help to recover your money.

on the date on which the counter claim is made in court. (c) an application by notice of motion in a High Court is made when the application is presented to the proper officer of that court. 16 | P a g e .1963. 2. extent and commencement . It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may be notification in the Official Gazette. 3.(1) This Act may be called the Limitation Act.(ii) in the case a counter claim. Short title. appoint. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

decrees.Period of filing appeal and application can be extended if proper cause is shown (but not the suit) [section 5]. appeal or application can be filed on next day when Court reopens. appeal or application by the schedule to the Act and ‗prescribed period‘ means the period of limitation computed as per provisions of the Act. . contracts. suit. (b) 12 years for suits relating to possession of immovable property and 30 years for mortgaged property (c) One year for suit relating to torts (3 years for compensation in certain cases (d) 30 to 90 days in case of appeals under Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code. [section 4].‗Period of limitation‘ means the period of limitation prescribed for any suit. 13 th edition .VIII. the period of limitation will start after the disability is removed.every suit instituted. Generally. [section 9]. if a person was disabled (as he was minor or insane). [section 6(1)].. PERIOD AS PRESCRIBED IN SCHEDULE TO THE ACT – The period has been prescribed in Schedule to the Act.10 IF COURT IS CLOSED ON LAST DAY – If court is closed on last day of limitation.. . 10 Justice S A Kader’s Law of Limitation and Prescription . declarations. it is as follows – (a) 3 years for a suit relating to accounts. Limitation Act). recovery of law suit under a contract etc. it continues even if there is any subsequent disability or inability to institute a suit or make an application. [section 3(1)]. suits relating to movable property. CONTINUOUS RUNNING OF TIME – When once period of limitation starts running.. . 2011 . BAR OF LIMITATION Subject to provisions of sections 4 to 24 of the Act (i. appeal preferred and application made after the ‗prescribed period‘ shall be dismissed. Lexis Nexis 17 | P a g e . [section 2(j)].However. although limitation has not been set up as a defence. if at the time when person is entitled to file a suit or make application.e.

D.IX. 11 Civil Misc. M S Mudol (Dr) v S D Halegkar. & Others11 According to the learned Judge the application had been rejected on two grounds firstly being barred by limitation and secondly being without any valid ground. Supreme Court held that the challenge of appointment of principal on grounds of not fulfillment of the required qualification after nine years of appointment was not allowed. Judicial Actions Raj Bahadur Singh & Another v.12718 of 2002 18 | P a g e . He further submitted that the learned District Judge vide order dated11. If it is held that no appeal lies then the order admitting the appeal is wholly without jurisdiction and in such a circumstance a writ petition is maintainable.C. the appeal filed by the respondents was fully maintainable.P. or a revision lies. on the ground that the application is barred by Limitation and no ground for condonation of delay has been made out.2.2002 had admitted the appeal while over ruling the preliminary objections and the writ petition filed by the petitioners is not maintainable. Arun Kumar v S E Railways: Appeal has been made in regard to representation against the seniority list to the administration in 1967 which was replied in 1973. In the present case the question is as to whether an appeal lies against an order passed by the trial Court wherein it had by a common order rejected both the applications under section 5 of the Limitation Act and Order9 Rule 13 C. Mohd Ismail v State of Karnataka: Karnataka High Court ignored a four year delay in view of serious adverse consequences to the petitioner. Thus. The Supreme Court of India held that there is no inordinate delay in filing the petition in view of the fact that the railway administration was itself guilty of delay.Writ Petition No.J.

19 | P a g e . Jawahar Lal Sazawal v State of J & K: A writ petition filed before High Court in 1982 and coming for hearing after 16 years long gap is not barred by laches due to special circumstances. The Cause of Action arose in 1968 but the writ petition under Article 226 was claimed under violation of Fundamental Rights. The court has been assigned the role of a sentinel on the qui vive for protection of fundamental rights cannot easily allow itself to be persuaded to refuse relief solely on the jejune ground of laches. delay or the like.Ramachandra Shanker Deodhar v State of Maharashtra: A case of seniority between two groups of Government employees arose.

For example. at least not without causing great harm that the plaintiff could have avoided. However. In other words. the defendant is in a worse position now than at the time the claim should have been brought. Lexis Nexis 20 | P a g e . the delay in asserting the claim may have caused a great increase in the potential damages to be awarded. or assets that could earlier have been used to satisfy the claim may have been distributed in the meantime. 12 Justice S A Kader’s Law of Limitation and Prescription .X. CONCLUSION In most contexts. or evidence or testimony may no longer be available to defend against the claim. or the property in question may already have been sold. A defense lawyer raising the defense of laches against a motion for injunctive relief (a form of equitable relief) might argue that the plaintiff comes "waltzing in at the eleventh hour" when it is now too late to grant the relief sought. such as elections). 2011 . In certain types of cases (for example. cases involving time-sensitive matters. 13 th edition . the party may still have an action at law if the statute of limitations has not run out.12 A successful defense of laches will find the court denying the request for equitable relief. an essential element of laches is the requirement that the party invoking the doctrine has changed its position as a result of the delay. a delay of even a few days is likely to be met with a defense of laches. even where the applicable statute of limitations might allow the type of action to be commenced within a much longer time period. even if equitable relief is not available.

8th Edition. Thomson West Publishers. Eastern Book Company. “CIVIL PrOCEDUrE CODE” . Civil Procedure code. 2011 .BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. 5th Edition . 1963 21 | P a g e . 1908. brYAN A. 1963 5. EDITED bY. JUSTICE S A KADEr’S LAW OF LIMITATION AND PrESCrIPTION . GArNEr. JUSTICE C. INDIAN LIMITATION ACT. Specific relief act.K. 3. 4. 2004. 6. 13th edition . “bLACK’S LAW DICTIONArY”. 2011. THAKKEr’S . Lexis Nexis 2.

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