The History of the Law of Limitation in India (The Limitation Act, 1963)
The first attempt to introduce a uniform Law of Limitation applicable alike to Courts established by Royal Charter and other Courts was made by the Limitation Act, 1859 (XIV of 1859) which came into operation in 1862?. (Third Report of the Law Commission, Para. 2).
This Act of 1859 was replaced by a new Act of 1871 which provided for the limitation of suits, appeals and certain application to Courts and it also provided for the acquisition of easements and the extinguishment of rights to land and hereditary office at the determination of a specified period. The Act dealt with both limitation and prescription.
The; Act of 1871 again .was repealed by Act XV of 11877. This Act provided for the exiting punishment of rights not only to lands and hereditary office but also to any property including movable property.
It also defined “easement” as including profit a prendre. After a number of amendments in various years, the Act of 1877 was finally replaced by Act IX of 1908, repeating in substance the provisions of Act XV of 1877, the alterations’ being confined to matters of details.
The Act of 1908 remained in force till the present Act No. 36 of 1963 was passed in October, 1963. Although the need for reform of the Law of Limitation in India was felt as far back as 1925 or even earlier when the Civil Justice Committee of 1925 formulated a question: “In what cases do you consider that the Law of Limitation might be made more stringent”, yet the matter was seriously taken up only in 1935 when the Law Commission took up the consideration of the Act in detail.
The Law Commission examined the provisions of the 1908 Act with a view to see in what manner they could be simplified and modernised in the light of judicial decisions which had brought to light difficulties and doubts and submitted its report in July 1956. The report was considered by the Government and a Bill was introduced to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission.
The Bill was passed and the Limitation Act (36 of 1963) received the assent of the President on October 5, 1963 and published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary, Part II, section 1, page 319, dated the 5th October, 1963. This is the Act now in force.