Basically, all laws of limitation are founded on public policy & expediency. – John Voet

1. vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt – Equity comes to the aid of the vigilant & not those who sleep over their rights.

2. interest republicae ut sit finis litium – Interest of state requires that there should be an end to litigation.

According to Halsbury’s Laws of England, there are three different reasons for existence of statutes of limitation:

1. Long dormant claims have more of cruelty than justice in them i.e. It is quite unfair that a defendant should have a claim hanging over him for an indefinite period.

2. A defendant might lose the evidence required to dispute a stale claim e.g loss or destruction of documents, fading of memory, death of parties & witnesses.

3. Persons with good causes of action should pursue them with reasonable diligence. A person who does not promptly act to enforce his rights should lose them.

Simply speaking, the doctrine of limitation is based on two broad considerations.

1. There is a presumption that a right not exercised for a long time is non-existent.

2. An unlimited & perpetual threat of litigation creates insecurity & uncertainty.

Some kind of limitation is essential for public order & peace. A constant dread of judicial process retards the growth and prosperity of a nation. It is a financial burden. Further, there should be no hindrance on free circulation of property but so long as the title to the property remains dubious & unsettled, such free circulation cannot take place freely or at all.


Limitation Act is an exhaustive code. It is a consolidating and amending statute relating to limitation of suits, appeals & certain types of applications to courts & must therefore be regarded as an exhaustive code.

It is an exhaustive code & cannot be applied to matters to which the provisions are not made for. Provisions of limitation Act cannot be extended by way of analogy or reference. In matters not dealt with by it, there will be no applicability of the Act & there will be no limitation in respect of such matters.

Similarly, exemptions outside Limitation Act cannot be granted by courts by using discretion. To sum up, Limitation Act is a complete code in itself & Indian Courts are not permitted to travel beyond its provisions to add to or supplement them.