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Tina DU
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Period of Limitation

Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Barrel and Drum Mfg. Co. Ltd. v. ESI Corpn.: (1971) 2
SCC 860 as under:

“7. ….. The necessity for enacting periods of limitation
is to ensure that actions are commenced within a
particular period, firstly to assure the availability of
evidence documentary as well as oral to enable the
defendant to contest the claim against him; secondly to give effect to the principle that law does not assist
a person who is inactive and sleeps over his rights by
allowing them when challenged or disputed to remain
dormant without asserting them in a court of law. The
principle which forms the basis of this rule is expressed
in the maximum vigilantibus, non dermientibus, jura
subveniunt (the laws give help to those who are
watchful and not to those who sleep). Therefore the
object of the statutes of limitations is to compel a
person to exercise his right of action within a
reasonable time as also to discourage and suppress
stale, fake or fraudulent claims. ….”

Arbitration Matter

The Supreme Court has held in Union of India Vs. Popular Construction Co., AIR 2001 SC
4010, that the power of the court to condone delay does not
extend beyond the period of 30 days under Arbitration Act. The delay in re-filing of the
petition has to be viewed in the light of the aforesaid period of
limitation which is not stretchable beyond the period of three
months and thirty days.

The judgment of the Supreme Court in Improvement Trust was rendered
by the Supreme Court while considering a case falling under
Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Even though Limitation Act is
applicable to a petition under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,
the limitation provided under Section 34(3) is elastic only to a
limited extent, and not beyond that.

Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Barrel and Drum
Mfg. Co. Ltd. v. ESI Corpn.: (1971) 2 SCC 860 as under:
“7. ….. The necessity for enacting periods of limitation is to
ensure that actions are commenced within a particular period,
firstly to assure the availability of evidence documentary as well
as oral to enable the defendant to contest the claim against him;
secondly to give effect to the principle that law does not assist
a person who is inactive and sleeps over his rights by allowing
them when challenged or disputed to remain dormant without
asserting them in a court of law. The principle which forms the
basis of this rule is expressed in the maximum vigilantibus, non
dermientibus, jura subveniunt (the laws give help to those who
are watchful and not to those who sleep). Therefore the object
of the statutes of limitations is to compel a person to exercise
his right of action within a reasonable time as also to discourage
and suppress stale, fake or fraudulent claims. ….”

The Supreme Court in the case of Union of India v. Popular
Construction Company: (2001) 8 SCC 470 has held that the time limit
prescribed under section 34 of the Act to challenge an award is not
extendable by the Court under section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 in
view of the express language of section 34(3) of the Act. However, this
decision would not be applicable in cases where the application under
section 34 of the Act has been filed within the extended time prescribed,
and there is a delay in re-presentation of the application after curing the
defects that may have been pointed out. This is so because section 5 of
the Limitation Act, 1963 would not be applicable in such cases. Section
5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 provides for extension of the period of
limitation in certain cases where the Court is satisfied that the appellant/
applicant had sufficient cause for not preferring an appeal or making an
application within the specified period. In cases, where the application/
appeal is filed in time, section 5 would have no application. The Supreme
Court in the case of Indian Statistical Institute v. Associated Builders:
(1978) 1 SCC 483 considered the applicability of section 5 of the Limitation
Act, 1963 where the objection to an award under the provisions of the
Arbitration Act, 1940 was filed in time but there was substantial delay in
re-filing the same. The High Court in that case held that there was a delay
in filing the objections for setting aside the award and consequently,
rejected the application for condonation of delay. An appeal against the
decision of the High Court was allowed and the Supreme Court rejected
the contention that there was any delay in filing objections for setting
aside the award.

REFERRED TO:

  1. Delhi Transco Ltd. & Anr. vs. Hythro Engineers Pvt. Ltd.: 2012 (6) R.A.J. 299 (Del.).
  2. India Tourism Dev. Corporation Ltd. vs. R.S. Avtar Singh & Co.: FAO(OS) No.58/2011, Decided on 10.02.2011.
  3. M/s. Competent Placement Services through its Director/ Partner vs. Delhi Transport Corporation through its Chairman: 2011 (2) R.A.J. 347 (Del).
  4. The Executive Engineer vs. Shree Ram Construction Co.: 2011 (2) R.A.J. 152 (Del.).
  5. Improvement Trust vs. Ujagar Singh, (2010) 6 SCC 786.
  6. DSA Engineers (Bombay) vs. Housing & Urban Development Corporation Ltd.: 2003 (1) AD (Delhi) 411.
  7. Union of India vs. Popular Construction Company: (2001) 8 SCC 470.
  8. Union of India vs. Popular Construction Co., AIR 2001 SC 4010.
  9. S.R. Kulkarni vs. Birla VXL Limited: 1998 (5) AD (Delhi) 634.
  10. D.C. Sankhla vs. Ashok Kumar Parmar: 1995 (1) AD
    (Delhi) 753.
  11. Ashok Kumar Parmar vs. D.C. Sankhla: 1995 RLR 85.
  12. Indian Statistical Institute vs. Associated Builders: (1978) 1 SCC 483.
  13. Bharat Barrel and Drum Mfg. Co. Ltd. vs. ESI Corpn.: (1971) 2 SCC 860