Sagufa Ahmed v. Upper Assam Plywood Products Pvt. Ltd.
CIVIL APPEAL No. 3007-3008 OF 2020 decided on September 18,2020
Bench: S.A. Bobde, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramaniam JJ.
The present appeal was filed in the Supreme Court by the petitioner against the order of NCLAT where an application seeking condonation of delay was rejected and the appeal before NCLAT was dismissed as being barred by limitation. The appellant in the instant case had moved the NCLAT in appeal in July this year while the period of limitation stood lapsed on March 18 this year. The present appeal was filed on the contention, among others, that NCLAT failed to acknowledge the order of Supreme Court extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding.
Question of Law:
The Supreme Court considered the following issues:
1. Whether the Appellate Tribunal failed to take note of the lockdown as well as the order passed by this Court extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding?
The counsel on behalf of the appellant contended that Appellate Tribunal had failed to take note of the lockdown as well as the order passed by this court on March 23, 2020 extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding with effect from March 15, 2020.
Additionally, it was also contended by the appellants that the Appellate Tribunal erred in computing the period of limitation from the date of the order of the NCLT, contrary to Section 421(3) of the Companies Act, 2013.
The Supreme Court dismissing the contention of the appellant held that the order of this court extended only “the period of limitation” and not the period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute. The Supreme Court delving into the word ‘prescribed period’ held that the expression appearing in Section 4 of the Limitation Act cannot be construed to mean anything other than the period of limitation. The court ruled: “The order passed by this court was intended to benefit vigilant litigants who were prevented due to the pandemic and the lockdown, from initiating proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed by general or special law.” In light of the above, the court dismissed the appeal of the appellant.
Important Precedent used:
1. Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board v. Subash Projects and Marketing Limited, (2012) 2 SCC 624.