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Law Of Limitation: Is It Exhaustive?

  • "Interest Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium" which means that in the interest of the state as a whole there should be a limit to litigation and
  • "vigilantibus non dormientibus Jura subveniunt" which means the law will assist only those who are vigilant with their rights and not those who sleep upon it.

History of Law of Limitation Act, 1963

1523: James Statute

1540: fixed periods of limitation for real actions were introduced.

Before 1834: limitations were recognized as a judicial bar only. Williams recognized the principle of extinctive limitation.

In British India, from 1793, Regulations were passed from time to time for fixing the period of limitation for institution of actions.

For the first time, a law of limitation was passed by Act XIV of 1859 which came into operation in 1862.

The Act of 1859 was followed by the Act XIX of 1871 and the same was followed by the Act XV of 1877 with some alterations.

Finally, the Limitation Act of 1908 (IX of 1908) consolidated the law relating to limitations for suits, appeals and applications

Need & Object of the Law

  • Non-extinguishment of Rights
  • Mortality of Human Being and perishable nature of Evidence
  • Justice Delayed, Justice Denied
  • Enhance the value of the property
  • Free circulation of property

The Law of Limitation

The Act of 1908 consisted of 30 Sections and 183 Articles. For applications, there were 9 parts ranging from 10 days to 12 years, and for appeals, there were six parts of limitation ranging from 7th day to 30th month.

The present 'Limitation Act, 1963' has been passed seeking to implement the Third Report of the Law Commission on the Indian Limitation Act, 1908 dated 27th July 1956 with one important modification. The Law Commission felt that the law of limitation should be simple, certain, and rational. It also felt that the periods of limitation should neither be too long nor too short. It recommended that the provision should be modernized in the light of the judicial decisions and should avoid the possibility of conflicts between various articles.

Object of the Act
The Law of limitation prescribes a time period within which a right can be enforced in a Court of Law. The time period for various suits has been provided in the schedule of the Act.

The main purpose of this Act is to prevent litigation from being dragged for a long time and quick disposal of cases that lead to effective litigation.

As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, provisions of the Limitation Act will now apply to the whole of India. The Limitation Act, 1963 contains provisions relating to the computation of time for the period of limitation, condonation of delay, etc. The Limitation Act contains 32 sections and 137 articles and the articles are divided into 10 parts.

Whether the Act is exhaustive?

The Limitation Act is exhaustive with respect to all matters expressly dealt with in it. It cannot be extended by analogy. Ordinarily, the Act applies only to civil cases except in the matter expressly and specifically provided for that purpose.

Operation of the Act

In BK Education Services Private Limited v. Parag Gupta and Associates, the Supreme Court clarified that since the law of limitation is procedural in nature, it will be applied retrospectively. The Supreme Court in Thirumalai Chemicals Ltd v. Union of India observed that statutes of limitation are retrospective so far as they apply to all legal proceedings brought after their operations for enforcing causes of action accrued earlier.

In Excise and Taxation v. M/S Frigoglass India Private Ltd, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that It is well-settled that the law of limitation is a procedural law and operates retrospectively unless it has been provided differently in the amending statute. In other words, unless there is a contrary intention manifested by express or necessary implication of the legislation itself, procedural law is generally retrospective law.

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