Can a Court in India grant extension of the period of limitation if so, in what circumstances and in what class of proceeding?
What is a sufficient cause” has no where been defined in the Limitation Act except that the Explanation indicates what shall be the sufficient cause in the case of an appellant, or who was misled by any order, practice or judgment of the High Court in ascertaining or computing the prescribed period. But it has been held that sufficient cause must mean a cause which was beyond the control of the party invoking the aid of Section 5.
A cause for delay which by due care and attention a party could have avoided cannot be a sufficient cause. However the expression ‘sufficient’ cause’ should receive a liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice when no negligence nor inaction nor want of bona fide is imputable to the appellant or applicant.
The extension of time cannot be obtained for filing a suit as Section 5 does not apply suits. The reason is that the period of limitation allowed in most of the suits extends from three to twelve years, whereas in appeal and applications, it does not exceed six months.
Therefore it is necessary that some concession should be made in respect of these appeals and applications, to provide for circumstances which hinder a person from filing his appeal or application within the short period of time allowed.