“Bona fide delay can be condoned even if it defeats the right accrued to the other party on account of the

Limitation Act, 1963”

As per the general rule laid down in Section 3 of the Limitation Act, 1963 every suit, appeal or application filed after the period of limitation shall be dismissed. In respect of appeals and applications, Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 19631, provides for extension of time and condonation of delay. The provision provides for relief in the form of condonation of delay in cases where the appellant had “sufficient cause” for not making the application/appeal, and the court in such cases may hear the case on its merits. It is usually the intention of the courts, as proven by a plethora of cases, to interpret the statute of condonation of delay in a liberal manner 2, but while doing so the courts take into account two conflicting considerations: • That the court cannot dismiss a case simply on the ground of technicalities, and thus tries to decide on the basis of merits. • But the court must also not forget that at the appellant’s delay, a right in the favour of the defendant is created and the same cannot be dismissed without serious consideration.3 “Sufficient Cause” Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 can be applied only in cases where the plaintiff can prove that there is a “sufficient cause” that caused the delay. The statute gives no explanation of the phrase, which leaves it to the discretion of the judges who adjudge the situation, based on the circumstantial strength of each case. However, the courts are in the trend of giving a somewhat liberal interpretation to the provision of condonation of delay, in order to serve the cause of justice 4. In the case of Collector (LA) v. Katiji5 the Supreme Court laid down certain guidelines in order to give a more comprehensive interpretation to the phrase, the court laid down: • That ordinarily a litigant/appellant does not benefit out of a late application.

instances where the appellant has been misled by the court or any legal practitioner must also be covered as it would come under “sufficient cause”. if the provisions are applied strictly but on the hindside the appellant can never benefit out of an unfair circumstance.5 of the Limitation Act. The commission has further recommended that the advise that was given by the practitioner was in relation to the particular appeal/application and that it was given in good faith and in writing. The court has also laid down that in instances of delay on bona fide grounds. The Commission recommended that under the section. • When substantial justice and technical considerations are made to face each other. [Strictly applying to a non-deliberate delay] • The cause of justice may not be served. the court must take into account whether these reasons could have been avoided by a person acting under normal care and caution6. 1963 in order to give the section a wider meaning and to prevent instances of obstruction to justice 7. the cause of substantial justice would overrule the technicalities. has recommended certain changes in section 5 of the Limitation Act. The 89th Law Commission Report on the Limitation Act. Bona fide grounds need to be justified in order to come under the ambit of “sufficient cause” of s. . Thus it is clear that the courts are willing to take a liberal approach for considering matters provided that the cause of delay can be adequately justified. In recent cases----give few examples the court has reiterated the principles related to the condonation of delay by stating that the phrase “sufficient cause” should be given a rational and pragmatic construction. as a lot of meritorious cases may lose their chance.• The delay must be so explained in every case whereby a chronological set of events must be produced in order to convince the court. 1963. In cases where the delay is deliberate and the guidelines are not in favour of the applicant then the right that the defendant gets in favour of himself will become enforceable.

Explanation. Parekh vs . Chapter 5. Any appeal or any application.. Ram Nath Sao v. (2002) 3 SCC 195 5. AIR 2011SC 503. Directorate of Enforcement and Anr. 1908 (5 of 1908 ).. 1963. (2001) 6 SCC 683. other than an application under any of the provisions of Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure. 89th Law Commission Report . Perumon Bhagvathy Devaswom v. Balwant Singh vs Jagdish Singh & Ors. Section 5. AIR 2010 SC 3043 7. Special Director .. Gobardhan Sao. Ram Nath Sao v. Balwant Singh vs Jagdish Singh & Ors. The Limitation Act. (2002) 3 SCC 195 4. Katiji. practice or judgment of the High Court in ascertaining or computing the prescribed period may be sufficient cause within the meaning of this section. Gobardhan Sao. Ujjal Transport Agency and Ors. Coal India Limited and Anr . Collector (LA) v. reads:mention section 3 also “Extension of prescribed period in certain cases. Bhargavi Amma (2008) 8 SCC 321. AIR 2012 SC 683.The fact that the appellant or the applicant was misled by any order. Ketan V .” 2. Ratnakar Bank Ltd. may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the applicant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period..REFERENCES 1. (1987) 2 SCC 107 6. AIR 2010 SC 3043 3. Plasto Pack v. vs .

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