SC: Limitation Act stricto sensu does not apply to the writ jurisdiction.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 6th November 2020, in the matter of Vetindia Pharmaceuticals Limited observed that the Limitation Act stricto sensu does not apply to the writ jurisdiction. It is not a mandatory requirement that every delayed petition must be dismissed on the ground of delay.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

There is no doubt that the High Court in its discretionary jurisdiction may decline to exercise the discretionary writ jurisdiction on ground of delay in approaching the court. But it is only a rule of discretion by exercise of self­restraint evolved by the court in exercise of the discretionary equitable jurisdiction and not a mandatory requirement that every delayed petition must be dismissed on the ground of delay. (Para 14)

The Limitation Act stricto sensu does not apply to the writ jurisdiction. The discretion vested in the court under Article 226 of the Constitution therefore has to be a judicious exercise of the discretion after considering all pros and cons of the matter, including the nature of the dispute, the explanation for the delay, whether any third­ party rights have intervened etc. The jurisdiction under Article 226 being equitable in nature, questions of proportionality in considering whether the impugned order merits interference or not in exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction will also arise. (Para 14)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_06-Nov-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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