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Limitation Act Is Applicable To Suits, Appeals, Application Filed In Courts, Not Before Statutory Authorities: Supreme Court

By LawStreet News Network      06 May, 2019 12:00 AM      0 Comments
Limitation Act Is Applicable To Suits, Appeals, Application Filed In Courts, Not Before Statutory Authorities: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on May 3, 2019, in the case of Ganesan v. The Commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board, has observed that under Limitation Act, 1963, the suits, appeals and applications that are referred to are suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed in a Court, and not before a statutory authority.

A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and K.M. Joseph was hearing an appeal filed against the judgment passed by the Madras High Court in which it was held that in appeal proceedings before the Commissioner Section 5 of the Limitation Act is fully applicable, and the Commissioner has power to condone the delay in filing appeals under Section 69 of Hindu Religious Endowment Charitable Act, 1959.

However, the apex court holding that the 'Commissioner' under HREC Act while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of Act, is not a 'Court' within the meaning of the Limitation Act, has set aside the impugned judgment of the Madras High Court.

While passing the judgment, the Court has also held that the Commissioner while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act.

In this case, the Bench referred to various earlier judgments and has laid down the following principles:-

  • The suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act, 1963 are suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed in a Court.
  • The suits, appeals and applications referred to in the Limitation Act are not the suits, appeals and applications which are to be filed before a statutory authority like Commissioner under Act, 1959.
  • Operation of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is confined to the suits, appeals and applications referred to in a special or local law to be filed in Court and not before statutory authorities like Commissioner under Act, 1959.
  • However, special or local law vide statutory scheme can make applicable any provision of the Limitation Act or exclude applicability of any provision of Limitation Act which can be decided only after looking into the scheme of particular, special or local law.

Two of the issues before the Bench, in this case, was (1) whether applicability of Section 29(2) of Limitation Act is with regard to different limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application to be filed only in a Court or Section 29(2) can be pressed in service with regard to filing of a suit, appeal or application before statutory authorities and tribunals provided in Special or Local Laws? (2) Whether the Commissioner while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of Act 1959 is entitled to condone a delay in filing an appeal applying the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963?.

Applying the above principles, the Bench held that “The applicability of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is with regard to different limitations prescribed for any suit, appeal or application when to be filed in a Court. Section 29(2) cannot be pressed in service with regard to filing of suits, appeals and applications before the statutory authorities and tribunals provided in a special or local law. The Commissioner while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act.”

[Read Judgment]

 



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