SC: In Art.113 Limitation Act, its when right to sue accrues, not first accrues

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 5th June 2020, in the matter of Shakti Bhog Food Industries Ltd. v. The Central Bank of India & Anr. pronounced that in cases governed by Article 113 of the Limitation Act, 1963, what is required to be noted is – “when the right to sue accrues” (and not when the right to sue “first” accrues).

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Indeed, Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC gives ample power to the Court to reject the plaint, if from the averments in the plaint, it is evident that the suit is barred by any law including the law of limitation. (Para 6)

The expression used in Article 113 of the Limitation Act, 1963 is “when the right to sue accrues”, which is markedly distinct from the expression used in other Articles in First Division of the Schedule dealing with suits, which unambiguously refer to the happening of a specified event. Whereas, Article 113 being a residuary clause does not specify happening of particular event as such, but merely refers to the accrual of cause of action on the basis of which the right to sue would accrue. (Para 9)

We must assume that the Parliament was conscious of the distinction between the provisions referred to above and had advisedly used generic expression “when the right to sue accrues” in Article 113 of the Limitation Act, 1963. Inasmuch as, it would also cover cases falling under Section 22 of the 1963 Act, to wit, continuing breaches and torts. (Para 10)

The cause of action for filing a suit would consist of bundle of facts. Further, the factum of suit being barred by limitation, ordinarily, would be a mixed question of fact and law. (Para 13)

Exchange of letters or correspondence between the parties cannot be the basis to extend the period of limitation. (Para 14)

In cases governed by Article 113 of the Limitation Act, 1963, what is required to be noted is – “when the right to sue accrues” (and not when the right to sue “first” accrues). (Para 16)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_05-Jun-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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