What to Do When the Period of Limitation Expired in Legal Proceedings ?

Circumstances in which Limitation can be condoned

Limitation is a restriction of a time in which a lawsuit can be filed. If you have missed an opportunity to file appeal or any legal proceedings then you don’t need to worry. There are ways to deal this. In Pakistan according to section 5 of limitation Act 1908, a court may grant extension of period of limitation in the following cases of proceedings and in no other:
a. Appeals.
b. Application for review of judgment.
c.Application for leave to appeal.
d. Any other application to which section 5 of this act is made applicable by or under any enactment for the time being inforce.
This provision does not apply to suits. The reason is that the period of limitation allowed in most of the suit extends from three to twelve years; whereas in appeals and application it does not exceed six months, therefore it is necessary that some concession should be made in respect of these appeals and applications, to provide for those circumstances which hinder a person from filing his appeal or application within the short period of time allowed.
This section also does not apply to applications;
1. For setting aside awards.
2. For execution of decree in absence of any enactment or rule which makes the section applicable to such an application.
3. Under order 41 rule 19 CPC for re-admission of an appeal dismissed ex party.
Circumstances in which delay is condoned: Following are the circumstances in which the delay is condoned:-
(1) Sufficient cause: The only circumstances in which the delay may be condoned is the showing of the sufficient cause for the preferring the appeal or making the application within such period. But mere proof of existence of sufficient cause for delay will not only ipso facto make the court to extend the time. It is on the judicial and reasonable discretion of the court to admit or refuse to admit the plea of “ sufficient cause”. Existence of sufficient causes the since qua non for moving the court to exercise its discretion. Thus where no cause has at all been shown, the plaintiff cannot seek the discretionary favor of the court ie court is satisfied with the sufficiently of the case, It can use its discretion in his favor and condone his delay. Thus, the extension of time is a matter of concession and cannot be claimed by him as matter of right.
(2) What constitutes sufficient cause: It is difficult and undesirable to attempt to define precisely the meaning of sufficient cause. It must be determined by the circumstances of each particular case. However, a sufficient cause should fulfill the following essential.
(1) it must be a cause which was beyond the control of the party invoking it.
(2) He must not be guilty of negligence. His diligence and care must be shown.
(3) His intention must be bonafide. In a case it was held The test, therefore, to be applied to the case before us is, whether there has been any negligence or inaction or want of bona fide on the part of the appellant.
(3) Instances of sufficed cause: one of the instances of sufficient cause is provide in the Explanation tosection 5 of this Act which says: The fact that the appellant or the applicant was misled by any order, practice or judgment of the High court in ascertaining or computing the prescribed period of limitation may be sufficed cause within the meaning of this section.
Other instances of sufficient cause are: illness; imprisonment, mistake of fact; mistake of law; mistake of counsel; wrong proceedings taking in good faith; proceedings in wrong court through bona fide mistake; judge not pronounced in open court and inability to get stamps , etc.


Each day is to be explained: According to the law each day of limitation must properly and satisfactorily be explained and the excuse that the matter got delayed because of its having remained under examination at different department level is never a valid ground for extension of period of limitation and does not constitute a sufficient ground for condemnation of delay. It is a matter of regret that despite this position being repeatedly clarified by this court and the High courts the government department with all their resources continue to delay the filing of the cases in time which loss to the government and the public interest. It is high time that the government department so organized their business that legal cases are not unnecessarily delayed and are instituted in court within the time limited for such matters.. 1981 SCMR 37: PLJ 1981 SC 212.



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