Section 5 of the Limitation Act can be applied to condone delays under the Commercial Courts Act even in the absence of express provisions: Bombay HC

Section 5 of the Limitation Act can be applied to condone delays under the Commercial Courts Act even in the absence of express provisions: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court condoned delay in filing an appeal relating to a commercial suit, citing Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act, which allows waiver of delay even in the absence of specific provisions in the Limitation Act. The Court referred to Section 29 of the Limitation Act, and held that since the Commercial Courts Act does not specify a period of limitation, Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act apply.

The Departmental Bank of Nitin W. Sambre And Abhay J. Mantri considered the appeal filed by the applicant/original plaintiff against the judgment of the District Court in a commercial suit for recovery of a sum of Rs.1,70,16,342. The District Court had also dismissed the counterclaim filed by the original defendant/non-applicant (respondent). The commercial appeal filed by the original defendant under Section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 was also dismissed.

The applicant/original plaintiff sought forgiveness of the 156 days’ delay on the grounds of the voluminous record of the judgment and the dismissal of counsel. The non-applicant/original defendant opposed this on the grounds that section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act does not confer any express power on the court to forgive the delay.

The High Court held that the plain reading of section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act indicates that the delay can be tolerated even in the absence of express provision in the Limitation Act. The Court referred to section 29 of the Limitation Act, which provided that where the period of limitation is not prescribed by any special or local law, the provisions of sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act apply.

“Having regard to the provisions of Article 29 of the 1963 Act, a simple reading of the provisions of Article 13 of the 2015 Act leads to the conclusion that the power to tolerate delay may be exercised even in the absence of an express provision to that effect in the 1963 Act.” there it said.

Therefore, in accordance with Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act, the provisions of Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act apply, as the principal Act (the Commercial Courts Act) does not contain any provisions on the limitation period.

The Court held that Article 5 of the Limitation Act, which concerns the waiver of delay in the event of sufficient cause, applies to the present case.

As regards the ground for waiver of delay sought by the applicant, the Court held that there was sufficient reason to forgive the delay. It noted that since the non-applicant/original defendant had also filed a commercial appeal against the judgment of the district court, it could be inferred that both parties felt aggrieved by the judgment rendered in the commercial suit.

The High Court thus condoned the delay and directed the plaintiff to pay Rs 10,000 to the non-plaintiff/original defendant.

Case Title: CEAT Limited vs. Viren Mishra (Civil Application (O) No. 705 of 2023)

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