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  • Writer's pictureChetan Chadha

Suspension of deadlines not applicable to extensions requested prior to March 15, 2020 - Supreme Cou

The Supreme Court of India, while clarifying the position regarding suspension of deadlines due to COVID 19, vide its order dated September 18, 2020 held that in case the original deadline in any matter fell on or before March 15, 2020 and an extension was sought in the said matter, then the deadline for such matter shall be deemed to have expired on the date of expiry of the extension sought. Thus, as per the said order the deadlines for such matters shall not stand suspended beyond the extended deadline.

The aforesaid order provides clarification on the applicability of the order of the Supreme Court pronounced on March 23, 2020 regarding condonation of delay due to the ongoing pandemic. The above-mentioned order of March 23, 2020 stated that:

“This Court has taken Suo Motu cognizance of the situation arising out of the challenge faced by the country on account of Covid­19 Virus…….To obviate such difficulties and to ensure that lawyers/litigants do not have to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals across the country including this Court, it is hereby ordered that a period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not, shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court in present proceedings.”

The Court by its latest order clarified that what was extended, by the above-mentioned order of March 23, 2020, was only “the period of limitation” and not the period up to which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute.

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