Aditya Khaitan & Ors. V. IL and FS Financial Services Limited
Date of Order:
3rd October, 2023
Hon'ble Justice J.K. Maheshwari
Hon'ble Justice K.V. Viswanathan
Petitioner: Aditya Khaitan & Ors.
Respondent: IL and FS Financial Services Limited
The court held that the applications filed by the applicants are well within time and the order of the high court was set aside.
Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act- Dishonour of cheque for insufficiency
Section 23(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- The statement of claim and defence under this section shall be completed within a period of six months from the date the arbitrator or all the arbitrators, as the case may be, received notice, in writing of their appointment.
Section 29-A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- It sets a time limit for the completion of arbitration proceedings and the passing of the award.
- The respondent in this case, IL and FS Financial Services Limited, filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Calcutta on August 30, 2019, seeking money recovery as well as other consequential reliefs. Nine defendants were involved.
- The defendants received a summons in the lawsuit on February 7, 2020. The 30-day window for submitting written statements expired on 08.03.2020 because it was a commercial lawsuit. The additional pardonable window of 90 days also ended on June 6, 2020.
- The appellants filed all eight applications for the nine defendants on January 20, 2021, as no written statements had been submitted within the specified deadlines.
- In the applications, it was requested that the written statements of the defendants be accepted and the deadline be extended.
- The World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Government of India and the State Governments published advisories regarding the pandemic, and the Government of West Bengal imposed lockdown on March 22, 2020, were the justifications listed in the affidavit.
Whether the High Court was justified in rejecting the application for extension of time dated 20.01.2021 and in not taking the written statements on record?
- The court determined that even though the summons was given on July 2, 2020, the 30-day window closed on March 8, 2020, and the 120-day window closed on June 6, 2020.
- On January 20, 2021, a request was made to record written remarks and an extension of time.
- The applications filed by the applicants on 19.01.2021 are well within time when taking into account the orders of 08.03.2021 and the orders made 18 afterward and excluding the time period specified therein.
- For the grounds outlined above, the High Court's decision ought to be overturned.
Statutes of limitations are based on the basic legal principle that "Vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt" - the law helps those who are watchful, not those who sleep over their rights. The limitation period for filing lawsuits, appeals, and applications in India is set forth in the Limitation Act, 1963, an Indian statute. To ensure that disputes are resolved in a reasonable amount of time and that the person who was mistreated obtains justice, the act defines the deadline for filing a lawsuit with a c