Section 14 Limitation Act Applies To Application Under Section 7 IBC

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Case: Sesh Nath Singh Vs. Baidyabati Sheoraphuli Co-operative Bank Ltd

Coram: Justices Indira Banerjee and Hemant Gupta

Case No: [CA 9198 OF 2019]

Case Observation: “A plain reading of Section 5 of the Limitation Act makes it amply clear that, it is not mandatory to file an application in writing before relief can be granted under the said section. Had such an application been mandatory, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would have expressly provided so. Section 5 would then have read that the Court might condone delay beyond the time prescribed by limitation for filing an application or appeal, if on consideration of the application of the appellant or the applicant, as the case may be, for condonation of delay, the Court is satisfied that the appellant/applicant had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.

Alternatively, a proviso or an Explanation would have been added to Section 5, requiring the appellant or the applicant, as the case may be, to make an application for condonation of delay. However, the Court can always insist that an application or an affidavit showing cause for the delay be filed. No applicant or appellant can claim condonation of delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act as of right, without making an application.”

“There can be little doubt that Section 14 applies to an application under Section 7 of the IBC. At the cost of repetition, it is reiterated that the IBC does not exclude the operation of Section 14 of the Limitation Act”

“In our considered view, Explanation (a) cannot be construed in a narrow pedantic manner to mean that Section 14 can never be invoked until and unless the earlier proceedings have actually been terminated for want of jurisdiction or other cause of such nature. Explanation (a), which is clarificatory, only restricts the period of exclusion to the period between the date of initiation and the date of termination. An applicant cannot claim any further exclusion. “

If, in the context of proceedings under Section 7 or 9 of the IBC, Section 14 were to be interpreted with rigid and pedantic adherence to its literal meaning, to hold that only civil proceedings in Court would enjoy exclusion, the result would be that an applicant would not even be entitled to exclusion of the period of time spent in 41 bona fide invoking and diligently pursuing an earlier application under the same provision of IBC, for the same relief, before an Adjudicating Authority, lacking territorial jurisdiction This could not possibly have been the legislative intent.. In our considered opinion, the judgment of the NCLAT in the case of Ishrat Ali is unsustainable in law.

The proceedings under the SARFAESI Act, 2002 are undoubtedly civil proceedings In our considered view, keeping in mind the scope and ambit of proceedings under the IBC before the NCLT/NCLAT, the expression ‘Court’ in Section 14(2) would be deemed to be any forum for a civil proceeding including any Tribunal or any forum under the SARFAESI Act.


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