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Covid And Extension Of Limitation

profile picture Aarushi    Posted on 12 January 2022,  
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  • In March, 2020, when the Covid pandemic broke out, the Supreme Court took a Suo moto case to acknowledge the difficulties that the litigants faced in filing the petitions, applications, suits, appeals or any other quasi proceedings.
  • Thus, an order was released on March 23rd, 2020 which directed an extension in the period of limitation for all the proceedings before all courts and tribunals till further orders.
  • On March 8th, 2021 the extension in the period of limitation was brought to an end. It was made clear that the extension in the period of limitation was from March 15th, 2020 to March 14th, 2021 and that the period of limitation would further start from March 15th, 2021.
  • Due to the Covid 2nd wave, the Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association (SCAORA) filed an application to restore the order dated March 23rd, 2020 to extend the period of limitation.
  • Through the order on September 23rd. 2021 the extension in period of limitation was marked from March 15th, 2020 to October 2nd, 2021 in all proceedings before all the courts and tribunals.
  • The application which was filed recentlyby SCAORA seek to restore the order dated March 23rd, 2020, keeping in mind the spread of the new variant of the Covid 19 virus and the drastic increase in the number of Covid cases in India.
  • The Apex Court passed the order stating that in the period from March 23rd, 2020 to February 28th, 2022, the extension in the period of limitation will be followed.
  • The Court also noted that in all the cases where there was a balance in the period of limitation as on October 3rd, 2021 will be resumed from March 1st, 2022.
  • In such cases where the period of limitation fell between March 15th, 2020 to February 28th, 2022, the actual period of limitation will start from March 1st, 2022.
  • It was also made clear by the court that this extension in the period of limitation applied to all those sections where a limited period was assigned to institute proceedings.


  • Apart from the extension in the period of limitation other changes can be seen in the hearing of courts due to the pandemic.
  • In this time of Covid, proceedings were either delayed or accelerated.
  • In most cases only the urgent matters were taken up by the court for hearing. This resulted in backlog of cases and crowding of jail due to the increase in the number of people in pre-trial detention.
  • All possible measures were taken by the courts to stop people from physically coming to the courts.
  • The Punjab & Haryana High Court, on March 17th, 2020 ordered all the district and sub ordinate courts in its jurisdiction to only take up matters of bail and urgent stay and injunction until further orders.
  • On March 16th, 2020, the Supreme Court passed an order stating that only the urgent matters will be taken up in all courts including the Apex Court.
  • Only certain people were allowed inside the court for hearings.
  • All the notices and summons were made through e-mail, fax or instant message service.
  • Social distancing and use of masks and sanitizers were made compulsory inside the court premises.
  • Before the Covid era, we had seen the development of E-Courts, the presence of all kinds of information regarding the court in the website of the Court.
  • Now, we can see the transition from E-Courts to E-Judiciary, i.e., all the court proceedings and judgement and cross examination of witness taking place over video conferencing.
  • The E-Committee of the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice of the government of India released funds to set up video conferencing cabins in 2,506 courts in India.
  • Through these measures, we can see that the digitalisation of courts, which was at a much slower pace before the pandemic had gained momentum when it became a necessity to work from the safety of our homes.
  • This pandemic, along with bringing deaths and misery has contributed a lot to the development of internet services.
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