The Plea of Limitation III: Causes of Justice

“A series of decisions of this Court have clearly held that the Limitation Act, 1963 applies only to Courts and does not apply to Quasi-Judicial Bodies [See, (1976) 4 SCC 634]… There is authority for the proposition (however) that even where Section 14 of the Limitation Act may not apply, the principles on which Section 14 is based, being principles which advance the cause of justice, would nevertheless apply… Various provisions of the Limitation Act are based on advancing the cause of justice. Section 6 is one such. On the assumption that Section 6 does not apply on the facts of a given case, can it be said that the principles on which it is based have no application? Suppose, in a given case, the person entitled to institute a proceeding not governed by the Limitation Act were a minor, a lunatic or an idiot, would he not be entitled to institute such proceedings after such disability has ceased, for otherwise he would be barred by the period of limitation contained in the particular statute governing his rights. This Section again is a pointer to the fact that Courts always lean in favour of advancing the cause of justice where a clear case is made out for so doing.”

 Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, M.P. Steel Corporation v. Commissioner of Central Excise, [Civil Appeal No. 4367 of 2004].

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