Law relating to limitation is incorporated in the Limitation Act 1963 which prescribes different periods of limitation for suits, petition or applications. The act applies to all civil proceedings and some special criminal proceedings which can be taken in the court of law unless its application is excluded by any enactment. The Act extends to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The statutes of limitation are based on the principles of public policy which diligence and to prevent oppression.
The Law of limitation bars the remedy in a court of law only when the period of limitation has expired, but it does not extinguish the right that it cannot be enforced by judicial process. Thus if a claim is satisfied outside the court of law after the expiry of period of limitation, that is not illegal.
The intention of the law of limitation is, not to give right where there is not one, but to interpose a bar after a certain period to a suit to enforce an existing right. The object is to compel litigants to be diligent in seeking remedies in court of law by prohibiting stale claims. It is to help the bona fide claimant and to prevent fraud being practiced by people upon innocent persons by keeping action hanging on them for a long time.
Computation of the period of Limitation
The Courts in India are bound by the specific provisions of the limitation Act and are not permitted to move outside the ambit of these provisions. The Act prescribed the period of limitation in Articles in schedule to the Act. In the articles of the schedule to the limitation Act. columns 1,2, and 3 must read together to give harmonious meaning and construction.
Bar of Limitation
Sec 3 of the Act provides that any suit, appeal or application if made beyond the prescribed period of limitation, it is the duty of the court not to proceed with such suits irrespective of the fact whether the plea of limitation has been setup in defence or not. The provision of sec 3 are mandatory. The court can suo motu take note. The effect of sec 3 not to deprive the court of is jurisdiction. Therefore, decision of a court allowing a suit which had been instituted after the period prescribed is not vitiated for want of jurisdiction.
Extension of Time in Certain Cases
Doctrine of sufficient cause
Sec 5 allows the extension of prescribed period in certain cases on sufficient cause being shown for the delay. This is known as doctrine of “Sufficient cause” for condonation of delay which is embodied in sec 5 of the Limitation Act. 1963. Sec 5 provides that any application other than application under provision of order XXI of the code of civil procedure 1908 may admitted after the period of limitation if the appellant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal. However it must be a cause which is beyond the control of the party.
Person under legal disability
Section 6 is an enabling section to enable persons under disability to exercise their legal rights within a certain time. Section 7 supplements section 6,section 8 controls these section, which served as an exception to sec 6 and 7. The combined effect of section 6 and 8 is that where the prescribed limit expires before the cessation of disability, for instance, before the attainment of majority, the minor will no doubt be entitled fresh period of limitation.
Computation of period of limitation:
i) Section 12 to 24 deals with computation of period limitation. As per section 12 the day to be excluded in computing period is the day from which the period is to be reckoned and the time requisite for obtaining a copy of decree shall be excluded.
ii) Time which leave to sue or appeal as a pauper is applied for also excluded.
iii) The time which a suit or application stayed by an injunction and the continuance of the injunction and the time taken for obtaining sanction or consent.