Gurugram Bar Association moves SC regarding interpretation of Sec 138, NI Act

Gurugram Bar Association moves SC regarding interpretation of Sec 138, NI Act

Gurugram Bar Association moves SC regarding interpretation of Sec 138, NI Act

Plea says Gurugram judges’ stance different from other courts

Gurugram, March 1 (Delhi Crown): The Gurugram District Bar Association has moved the Supreme Court seeking clarification regarding interpretation of SC’s orders suspending period of limitation qua the proviso (b) and (c) to the section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act, 1881.

The Association has argued that the Judicial Officers at the District Court Gurugram are interpreting the limitation orders as passed by the Supreme Court from time to time to mean that any complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act filed from 15.03.2020 till date is considered as pre-mature and is to be either dismissed on the ground of prematurity or should be withdrawn and refiled upon the lifting of the limitation orders.

According to the applicant, the said interpretation is being followed by the Judicial Officers at District Court Gurugram, whereas in most other parts of Haryana or for that matter all over the country, various complaint cases have been filed over the last one year wherein notices have been issued and are being taken up in the normal course of functioning by the courts of law.

The applicant has submitted that the confusion is further compounded by the fact that pursuant to the SC orders bringing an end to suspension of limitation, a large number of complaints under Section 138 of the NI Act came to be filed in the District Court Gurugram and elsewhere in the whole country.

However, when the COVID-19 threat resurfaced the orders of extending the period of limitation were passed yet again.

An application has been filed by the Association in the suo moto case regarding extension of limitation.

The Association has sought a clarification that the complaint cases filed under Section 138 of the NI Act, 1882 on or after March 15, 2020 till date, are maintainable and cannot be treated as premature.

According to the applicant Association, the interpretation of the orders suspending of period of limitation qua the proviso (b) & (c) to Section 138 of the NI Act does not mean that complaint cases cannot be filed at all during the period of 15.03.2020 till date and such suspension of limitation would not debar filing of all complaints altogether during this period.

When suspension of limitation was lifted by the Supreme Court the filing of complaints under the Negotiable Instruments Act resumed at the District Court Gurugram. According to the applicant, the judicial Officers of District Court Gurugram have treated complaints filed during these intervening periods also as premature, even though regular judicial work and filing of cases had resumed on such dates.

In March 2020, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the Covid-19 situation and resultant difficulties that may be faced by litigants across the country in filing their pleadings within the prescribed period of limitation. Thereafter, several orders were passed further extending the limitation period.

Noticing that the country was returning to normalcy, the Supreme Court had on March 8, 2021, ended the extension of limitation with effect from 14.03.2021, observing that the COVID-19 situation has improved.

However, the orders were revived in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19 in April 2021. The same was withdrawn by order dated September 23 with effect from October 2, 2021, after noting that normalcy was returning.

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