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Key Takeaways

  • The purpose and the main attributes of the Limitation Act, 1963 have been discussed in this article.
  • Its function in reducing the number of petitions before legal institutions, effectively alleviating the pressure on them by further curbing repetitive litigations, has been elaborated upon.
  • It has been clarified as to how the provision does not restrict the respondent from presenting his defense but rather stops the plaintiff from making repetitive appeals.
  • Condonation of delay as laid out in Section 5 of the Act has been discussed.


The word ‘Limitation’ can be inferred as curbing or restricting according to its literal meaning. The statute of limitation has been defined as the time restriction that an aggrieved individual has to file a lawsuit in order to seek redressal or justice from the court. Though it is not required of every citizen to grasp the many provisions that have been given for restriction in various suit matters, it is vital to have some fundamental knowledge of the law of limitation. The core concept of limitation refers to the setting or prescription of a time limit for legal acts to be taken.

'Period of limitation' is the amount of time between the filing of a suit, appeal, or application after an order has been passed, by the Schedule, and 'prescribed period' means the period of limitation calculated in line with the specifications of this Act, as observed in Section 2 (j) of The Limitation Act, 1963.

Functions and Features of the Limitation Act

  • The Law of Limitation refers to precluding certain legal conduct from being brought against a displeased existent after the last deadline for filing a suit and seeking a remedy or requital before a court.
  • Itcan be applied to any action filed after the enactment of limitations has expired. The primary and essential thing of the legislation of limitation is to cover the protracted process of laterally penalizing a person who has not committed any wrongdoing.
  • Any appeal filed after the date of limitation has passed, will be completely disregarded despite the opposing party not claiming limitation as a defense. But there are some exceptions that accept valid reasons such as if the court was closed on the expiry date of the application if the litigant can give proof of his circumstances.
  • The act does not apply against a defendant from raising a legitimate appeal against the order passed previously as observed in the case ofRullia Ram Hakim Rai v. Fateh Singh [AIR 1962 P H 256]. The limitation code restricts only action and its recovery is the only time-barred element, it does not seek to restrain defense just like a debtor is not barred from fulfilling his debt even after the deadline has passed.
  • The statute limits the plaintiff’s actions in the court to enforce his rights but does not restrict the respondent’s right to defense as clearly held in the case of Shrimant Shamarao Suryavanshi v. Pralhad Bhairoba Suryavanshi [Appeal (civil) 2706 of 1991].

Pardon of Delay

  • It refers to the relief given in case of delay when sufficient causes have been established.
  • If the appellant succeeds in convincing the court and provides sufficient cause as to why he cannot file for an appeal in a particular period, then the court can grant him a reprieve and accept the appeal at the prescribed time under the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
  • In the case of State of Kerala vs K.T. Shaduli Yusuff Etc [1977 AIR 1627], it was observed that in situations where the court needs to exercise condonation of delay, the evidence and facts are circumstantial, varying from situation to situation.

Sufficient Cause

  • There needs to be reasonable credibility in the appellant’s arguments as to why he won’t be able to file the appeal before the period of limitation expires. In the case of Balwant Singh (Dead) vs Jagdish Singh &Ors [CIVIL APPEAL No. 1166 OF 2006],it was observed by the Supreme Court that the applicant needs to cite clearly the reason for his delay which restricted him from furthering his arguments.
  • The Bombay High Court in the case of Ornate Traders Private Limited v. Mumbai [INCOME TAX APPEAL (LODGING) NO. 1814 OF 2008], held that when a reasonable and fulfilling cause has been cited by the appellant as to why the application could not move before the expiry of the limitation period is provided and the plea for condonation is moving bonafidely, except where there is no explanation on as to why there is a delay in the first place, an unproportionally delayed action coupled with negligence and carelessness turns the court’s opinion against the applicant.


The statute of limitation specifies how long a person has to exercise his legal right. This Act maintains an eye on the cases to ensure that they do not drag on for too long. This Act also recognizes that there are times when those filing a lawsuit or preferring an appeal for a legitimate reason are unable to do so within the time limits outlined in the Act and that the same criteria cannot be applied in every instance.

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