On February 14th 2022, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Prakash Corporates vs. Dee Vee Projects Limited has upheld its earlier order passed in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No. 3 of 2020 by extending the limitation period for all cases about the difficulties faced due to pandemic situation which also includes filing of a written statement. In Civil Appeal No(s). 1318 of 2022, the applicant has challenged the order dated July 9th 2021 passed by the High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur in declining the prayer of the appellant requesting further time to file its written statement.
The appellant was served with a summons concerning a commercial suit preferred by the respondent on June 1st 2021. As per Rule 1 of Order VIII CPC, as substituted by the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, the appellant was required to file the written statement within 30 days from the date of service of summons. Further, the appellant could have been given time to file the written statement by 120th day from the date of service of summons, for reasons to be recorded in writing and on payment of such costs as deemed fit by the Trial Court.
Upon expiry of 120 days from the date of service of summons, the right of the appellant to file the written statement would have stood forfeited and the Court could not have allowed the written statement to be taken on record. Hence, the appellant preferred a writ petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India before the High Court of Chhattisgarh. The trial court order has been upheld by the High Court of Chhattisgarh as well. Being aggrieved by the orders of both the courts, the appellant has preferred this present appeal.
Upon hearing of the submissions made by both the parties, the Hon’ble Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath has held that:
The concept of limitation not coming to an end on a day when the Court is closed or is deemed to be closed is precisely contained in Section 4 of the Limitation Act, 1963. In our view, due to the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the appellant was unable to file his written statement within a prescribed period limit. Hence, the written statement already prepared and notarized by the appellant deserves to be taken on record and the Trial Court deserves to be directed to proceed with the matter following law thereafter. Accordingly,
the impugned orders passed by Commercial Court (District Level), Nava Raipur, Chhattisgarh and High Court of Chhattisgarh are set aside.