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Law of Limitation

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      Tina DU
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      While Limitation Act doesn’t apply to proceedings under Article 226, settled law holds
      that a writ petition filed beyond period of limitation prescribed for civil suits must be dismissed on delay and laches.

      Banda Development Authority, Banda v. Moti
      Lal Agarwal & Ors., (2011) 5 SCC 394, the Supreme Court laid down
      that if a writ petition is filed beyond the period of limitation prescribed
      for filing a civil suit for similar cause, the High Court should not ordinarily
      entertain the writ petition. In para 17, the Supreme Court held as under:-

      “17. It is true that no limitation has been prescribed for filing a
      petition under Article 226 of the Constitution but one of the
      several rules of self-imposed restraint evolved by the superior
      courts is that the High Court will not entertain petitions filed after
      long lapse of time because that may adversely affect the settled/
      crystallised rights of the parties. If the writ petition is filed
      beyond the period of limitation prescribed for filing a civil suit
      for similar cause, the High Court will treat the delay unreasonable
      and decline to entertain the grievance of the petitioner on merits.”

      In State of Madhya Pradesh and Another v. Bhailal Bhai & Anr., AIR 1964 SC 1006, the Supreme Court held as under:-

      “21. ……..Learned Counsel is right in his submission that the provisions of the Limitation Act do not as such apply to the granting of relief under Art.226. It appears to us however that
      the maximum period fixed by the legislature as the time within
      which the relief by a suit in a civil court must be brought may
      ordinarily be taken to be a reasonable standard by which delay
      in seeking remedy under Art. 226 can be measured. This Court
      may consider the delay unreasonable even if it is less than the
      period of limitation prescribed for a civil action for the remedy
      but where the delay is more than this period, it will almost
      always be proper for the Court to hold that it is unreasonable……”

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