SCOPE OF LIMITATION ACT
1. Exhaustive Code
2. Bars the remedy but does not extinguish the right.
3. Does not apply to defence, exception S. 25, 27 – cannot be taken even in defence
Limitation Act, 1963 is applicable to a suit brought by the plaintiff. It does not apply to a right set up by a defendant in defence. E.g. A defendant can plead that the instrument is voidable even if the suit to set aside on account of its voidability is barred by limitation. A ground of defence cannot become stale or barred by limitation. But there is an exception u/s 25 or 27. Since S. 25 & S.27 extinguish the right itself (and not merely the remedy) a defendant cannot set up such a right by way of defence.
4. Justice, equity, good conscience cannot override law of limitation.
5. Adjective/Procedural law– Does not create rights except S. 27 – Does not extinguish rights except S. 27
6. The provisions of Act apply to all suits, appeals & certain applications specified in the Articles of the Act. The provisions of Limitation Act are applicable only in relation to certain applications & not all applications.
7. Limitation & Criminal Proceedings– Principally, law of limitation applies to criminal proceedings also while limitation is strictly applied to civil cases, it is liberal in Cr.P.C. The reason is, it is undesirable to have guilty persons, free from the reach of arms of law, after a few years of time. Limitation Act, 1963 does not apply to criminal proceedings unless it is made applicable by an express provision, e.g. Art. 114, 115 appeals & act 131 Criminal Revision.
8. Writ Proceedings – No period of limitation is prescribed for a person aggrieved by state action challenging such action as violating fundamental rights. It would have the effect of putting curbs in the way of enforcement of fundamental rights. Rajmata Vijai Raje Scindia Vs. State of UP AIR 1986 SC
9. Arbitration Proceedings– S. 37(1) Arbitration Act, 1940 & now S. 43(1) Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 provides that Limitation Act, 1963 shall apply to arbitrations as it applies to proceedings in court.
10. Election Petition– K. Venketeswara Rao v. Bekkam Narasimha Reddy AIR 1969 SC 872– Supreme Court said- the Limitation Act, 1963 cannot apply to proceedings like an election petition in as much as representation of People Act, 1951 is a complete code in itself.
11. Contracts curtailing the period of limitation– Parties cannot contract out of statute of limitation. Parties cannot curtail, extend or alter period of limitation. Such an agreement would be S. 23, 28 ICA, 1872.
12. Other proceedings– The provisions of Limitation Act, 1963 are not applicable to the proceedings before bodies other than courts, such as quasi-judicial tribunal or even an executive authority. The Act primarily applies to civil proceedings or some criminal proceedings (Article 114, 115, 131).
Sakuru v. Tanaji- AIR 1985 SC 1278– It is well settled that the provisions of Limitation Act, 1963 apply only to proceedings in courts & not to appeals or applications before bodies other than courts such as quasi-judicial tribunal etc. However, the relevant special statute may contain an express provision conferring on an authority, the power to extend prescribed period of limitation.
M.P. Steel Corporation v. Commissioner of Central Excise AIR 201– On a plain reading of the provisions of Limitation Act, 1963 it becomes clear that suits appeals & applications are only to be considered if they are filed in courts & not in quasi-judicial bodies. The general rule is that plea of Limitation can be raised as against plaintiff & not as against defendant. A defendant can claim a defence even in respect of a time barred right.
But there are exceptions to this rule
1. O. VIII Rule 6 CPC- Defendant cannot claim set off of a time barred debt.
2. S. 25 & S. 27- The right itself is extinguished.