Power to condone delay under Limitation Act does not apply to suits, but only to appeals: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that power to condone delay under the Limitation Act does not apply to suits, but only to appeals.


The Petitioner, a resident of the State of Mizoram, belonging to a Scheduled Tribe, was allotted land, which was later converted into Periodic Patta. Similarly, the other Petitioner, also a resident of Mizoram belonging to the Scheduled Tribe was allotted land. Both the passes were renewed from time to time and are according to the Petitioners, subsisting till date. 

The Special Leave Petitions, filed by the Petitioners are against the impugned judgment and order passed by the Gauhati High Court allowing the Civil Revisional Petition and setting aside an order passed by the Court of the Senior Civil Judge, Aizawl whereby the Court of Senior Civil Judge had condoned the delay of 322 days in filing Money Suit.

The issue raised in the SLP was whether the Court can condone the delay in filing a money suit seeking compensation for stones extracted by the concerned Respondents, from the land of the Petitioners, for the construction of a public road. 


The Petitioners contend that as per the PWD Schedule of Rates, the value of the stones extracted from the quarry of the Petitioners was to the tune of Rs.40,43,000/- and Rs. 1,10,11,200/-, respectively. 

The Petitioners argued that they had served legal notice under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code upon the Respondents calling upon them to compensate the Petitioners for the stones extracted. 


The division bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice J.K. Maheshwari stated that the High Court rightly found that the question to be decided in the suit and in the application filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 was, whether the delay in filing the Money Suit for damages could be condoned by filing an application for condonation of delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963. 

The court said that the High Court held rightly that the Limitation Act was applicable in the State of Mizoram and that a perusal of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 clearly showed that Section 5 did not apply to suits, but only to appeals and to applications except for applications under Order XXI of the Civil Procedure Code. 

The court added that it has no power to extend the period of limitation on equitable grounds, even though the statutory provision may sometimes cause hardship or inconvenience to a particular party. The Court has no choice, but to enforce it giving full effect to the same. 

The court while dismissing the Special Leave Petition said that the High Court rightly set-aside the impugned order of the Senior Civil Judge, Aizawl observing that the Senior Civil Judge, Aizawl could not have condoned the delay of 325 days in filing the Money Suit.

Case title: F. Liansanga & Anr. v/s Union of India & Ors.

Citation: SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 32875-32876 OF 2018

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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