The Supreme Court has said that it would be recalling its suo motu order dated April 27, 2021 which had extended limitation period for filing cases in view of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bench of Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Surya Kant said the suo motu extension of limitation period will stand withdrawn with effect from October 1, 2021. The Court observed that as Covid-19 cases have come down and indicated that a buffer period of 90 days will be given with effect from October 1.
The Court made this observation in the suo motu case In Re Cognizance For Extension of Limitation. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal agreed to the suggestion, saying that normalcy has now returned and there are no containment zones in the country to his knowledge.
Advocate Shivaji Jadhav, appearing for the Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association, made a request that the suo moto extension of limitation order be extended till the end of this year, considering the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic.
The CJI replied, “If at all a third wave comes we will see, Don’t expect any third wave now. Why unnecessarily you are pessimistic. Don’t invite the third wave.”
On less number of lawyers attending the Court for hearings, the Bench said, “Mr Vikas Singh says ‘there are no waves’. Tomorrow onwards, start physical courts fully.”
In March 2020, the top court had taken up the issue of the difficulties faced by the litigants in approaching the Courts amidst the Covid-19 pandemic Suo Motu, and directed the suspension of limitation periods. Thereafter, while noting that the country was returning to normalcy, the Top Court by order dated March 8, 2021 brought to an end the extension of limitation.
Earlier, the Election Commission had approached the Apex Court alleging that EVMs and VVPAT machines used in the assembly elections of six states are lying unused as they are preserved due to an order extending the limitation period for filing pleas and need to be released. Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Election Commission of India, argued that only 45 days should be given for election petitions after the lifting of limitation extension.
The Supreme Court had on April 27 this year, ordered that the limitation period under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings in the country shall stand extended until further orders. The Bench had ordered that a similar order passed on March 23 last year shall be restored.