New Delhi: The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal to an earlier order by the NCLAT, saying that delays are not condonable.
The appeal had challenged an NCLAT order which too had rejected the petitioner’s appeal on two grounds. The first ground was that, as per the Companies Act any appeal becomes time barred after 45 days. The second was that even if the Supreme Court, on a suo motu move, had extended time of appeal due to the Covid pandemic, the top court order had come only on March 23, while this appeal to the NCLAT was made on March 17.
This appeal before the top court was to condone the earlier delay, giving the COVID 19 pandemic as an excuse. This was rejected.
A three judge bench of Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian pointed out:
The court’s decision came on an appeal filed by Sagufa Ahmed & Ors., challenging the order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) which had dismissed the application.
The appellants had challenged an order of the NCLT (Guwahati Bench) last year before the Appellate Tribunal. Their appeal, however, was filed after the expiration of the statutory period for filing appeal. The NCLAT had dismissed the application for condonation of delay.
Advocate Gunjan Singh on behalf of the appellants contended that the Appellate Tribunal erred in computing the period of limitation from the date of the order of the NCLT, contrary to Section 421(3) of the Companies Act, 2013.
The counsel said that the Appellate Tribunal had failed to take note of the lockdown as well as the order passed by this court on March 23, 2020 in suo motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.3 of 2020, extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding with effect from March 15, 2020.
After considering the arguments submitted by the appellants, the Supreme Court held:
The apex court has cleared the meaning of the words “prescribed period” that appear in several sections of the Limitation Act, 1963, as these words are not defined in Section 2 of the Limitation Act, 1963, the expression is used throughout, only to denote the period of limitation.
The court ruled:
Therefore, the top court dismissed the appeal with the observation that the appellants cannot claim the benefit of the order passed by this court on March, for enlarging, even the period up to which delay can be condoned.
Read the judgment here;Sagufa
-India Legal Bureau