The Supreme Court on 23rd March, 2020 took up a suo moto petition for hearing. While exercising its inherent powers under Article 142 read with Article 141 of the Indian Constitution, which allows it to pass a necessary decree or order for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before the court, took cognizance of challenges faced by lawyers, clients and other court officials while filing legal documents (petitions/applications/suits/appeals etc) and adhering to other legal proceedings in court, which are barred by a limitation period under any general or special law (both Central and State) amid COVID-19.
In furtherance of the issues faced by litigants who are required to make a physical appearance in court, the three-judge bench compromising of Chief Justice Bobde, Justice L Nageshwar Rao and Justice Surya Kant ordered that:
"a period of limitation in all such proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or special law whether condonable or not shall stand extended with effect from 15th march, 2020 till further order/s to be passed by the court in present proceedings."
This order stands binding upon all courts and tribunals across the entire territory of India, according to article 141. The court also stated that this order must be brought to the notice of all High Courts which further have a duty to communicate it to all subordinate courts and tribunals under its respective jurisdiction. It also ordered for the issue of notice regarding the same to all Registrar Generals of High Courts.
The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta had previously suggested that appeals which are to be time barred within the next month should be deemed to have been extended due to the current scenario.