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Law of Limitation
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.
- 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
- Law of Prescription
Limitation Acts of various countries
- India: Limitation Act, 1963
- India: Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
- India: Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- India: Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
- Bangladesh: Bangladesh Limitation Act, 1908
- Kenya: Kenyan Limitation of Actions Act
- UK: UK Limitation Act, 1980
- UK: Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1984
- UK: Foreign Limitation Periods Act, 1984
- UK: Limitation Amendment Act, 1980
- UK: Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act, 1973
- UK: Limitation (Enemies and War Prisoner) Act, 1945
- UK: Limitations Of Actions And Costs Act, 1842
- UK: The Local Government Act 1985 (Police and Fire and Civil Defence Authorities) Precepts Limitation Order, 1988
- United States: Title 18 Chapter 213 of United States Code
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