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Law of Limitation

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Introduction

Limitation is the period prescribed for instituting any legal procedures under the provisions of statute. The Law of Limitation specifies the limit for every dispute so as to put an end to litigation in the interest of the State.

Without an end to litigation by means of limitation, disputes keep pending for a lot of time hence decreasing the productivity of the Government and the citizens. Old cases come to the court causing hardship to the judiciary. Death of parties and witnesses, loss of memory / remembrance by witnesses etc. will render the case to become waste.

The Law of Limitation is a Procedural Law. Jurists follow the Law strictly even though it operates harshly or unjustly in some cases because it follows Strict construction.

This Law does not create a right nor causes any action. It is limited to just pointing out the time frame till when a legal remedy is possible to be sought. It says that after the particular period, the relevant suit or proceeding cannot be instituted in a court of law.

This law doesn't apply to defence.

The act applies to institution of proceedings but not to their contributions.

A lien is not impaired because the remedy is barred by limitation.

Limitation is a mixed question of law and facts.

Law of Limitation and Law of Prescription

The two laws are sister laws. They work hand in hand.

Example: 'A' has a certain land. 'B' occupied it and continued to use it for over 12 years. Law of Prescription: Allows 'B' to acquire a good title over the land Law of Limitation: Gives 'A' 12 years time to file a case against the occupation of 'B' after which it affirms it legally after the said period is over.

Limitations and Latches

Unlike the Doctrine of Latches, the Doctrine of Limitations allows limitation to be generally pleaded only against the plaintiff.

Limitation and Estoppel

Estoppel precludes a person from denying the truth of a statement previous made by himself. Limitation precludes a person claiming a right to sue after the period of Limitation.

Notes

  • When the limitation begins to run, it will continue to run
  • Limitation extinguishes only the remedy and not the right

Topics on Law of Limitation

Related Topics

  • Law of Prescription

Limitation Acts of various countries

Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

  • Yeswant v Walchand, (1950) SCR 852 (868): The Supreme Court held that, "Rules of equity have no application where there are definite statutory provisions specifying the grounds on the basis alone the stoppage or suspension of running of time can arise. While the Courts are necessarily astute in checkmating fraud, it should be equally borne in mind that statutes of limitation are statutes of repose".
  • Sarat Kamini v Nagendra, (1925) 29 CWN 973: In all actions, the Court is to apply the law of limitation enhanced in the Indian Limitation Act, 1963, and the Judge cannot, on equitable grounds, "enlarge the time allowed by the law, postpone its operations or introduce exceptions not recognized by it.
  • Nashik Municipal Corporation v M s R M Bhandari and Another, Civil Appeal Jurisdiction, Civil Appeal No 1856 OF 2016, Supreme Court of India judgement dated February 26, 2016