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Explained: The SC’s decision to invoke its plenary power to extend limitation period of appeals


New Delhi, Mar 24: The Supreme Court invoked its plenary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to extend limitation period of appeals from high courts or tribunals on account of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices L N Rao and Surya Kant said the Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the situation arising out of the challenge faced by the country because of Covid-19 virus.

Explained: The SC’s decision to invoke its plenary power to extend limitation period of appeals

As a result, difficulties may be faced by litigants across the country in filing their petitions/ applications/ suits/ appeals/ all other proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed under the general law of limitation or under Special Laws (both Central and/or State), it said.

The top court said that to obviate such difficulties, "it is hereby ordered that a period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or Special Laws whether condonable or not shall stand extended w.e.f. 15th March 2020 till further order/s to be passed by this Court in present proceedings".

It said: "We are exercising this power under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Constitution of India and declare that this order is a binding order within the meaning of Article 141 on all Courts/Tribunals and authorities."

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The top court said that its order may be brought to the notice of all high courts for being communicated to all subordinate Courts/Tribunals within their respective jurisdiction.

"Issue notice to all the Registrars General of the High Courts, returnable in four weeks," the bench said.

Earlier, the bench had said that it would invoke its inherent powers under Article 142 to obviate the difficulties faced by lawyers in filing the appeals, if it goes for shut down due to the pandemic.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had suggested that appeals which are to become time barred in next three-four weeks should be deemed to have been declared extended due to the present scenario.

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