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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The objects and development of Limitation Act 1908.

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Law is the back-bone for the standing of the peaceful and live society. It lives and changes with the change in the society. The mortality is the fate of every life. The nature and its laws follow it without break and deviations. So there is no good for the society keep the disputes or litigation to be live for very long period. The law of limitation is founded on the Latin maxim “Interest republicae ut sit finis litium” , which means that it is for the general welfare that a period be put to litigation.


In England before James Statute of 1523 there was no specific Law of Limitation.
o   1523 A.D. James Statute introduced in England for the Law of Limitation.

o   1793 A.D. From 1793 A.D. Regulations were passed from time to time for fixing the limitation for institution of action; but

o   1858 A.D. Before 1858 two systems of Law of Limitation were adopted by the Courts in India. In Presidency towns viz. Calcutta, Madras and Bombay the English Law was followed; whereas in Moffusills courts administered the law as laid down by the Regulations which passed from time to time.

o   1859 A.D. The first attempt to introduce a uniform law of limitation applicable alike to Courts established by Royal Charter or other Courts by the Limitation Act 1859 (XIV of 1859), which come into force in 1862.

o   1908 A.D. Finally, the question of consolidating and amending the law relating to limitation for Suits, Appeals and Applications was taken up and the Limitation Act of 1908 (IX of 1908) was passed.

Analysis of the Limitation Act 1908:
The of 1908 consist 30 sections and 183 articles. The sections deals with general principles applicable to extension of time whether by reason of disability or by acknowledgement. The sections are divided into five parts-
1.      Part I is preliminary
2.      Part II is section 3 to 11, deals with limitation of suits, appeals and applications.
3.      Part III is section 12 to 25 deals with computation of period of limitation.
4.      Part IV is section 26 to 28 deals with acquisition of ownership by possession
5.      Part V is section 29 to 30 contains saving provisions.
And of the Articles, article 1 to 149 relates to suit, article 150 to 157 relate to appeal and article 158 to 183 relates to the application.

Objects of the law of limitations:
The object of the Act is “to quiet long possession and to extinguish stale demands”. It requires that there should be an end of litigation. The law of limitation proceed upon the presumption that claims are extinguished or ought to be held extinguished whenever they are not litigated within prescribed period. In the words of John Voet, controversies are restricted to a fixed period of time lest they become immortal while men are mortal.

The object of the law of limitation is not to crate or define cause of action but simply to prescribe the period within which existing right can be enforced in Courts of law. It based upon the principles that the law aids the diligent and not the indolent; that a man who has negligently slept over his right for an undue length of time will not be allowed to litigate in respect of them; and a person who has been in the enjoyment of property, or of a right, or of an immunity from a demand by another, for a period of them which the law has prescribed, will be allowed to enjoy that property and will not be harassed by unexpected litigation. The operation of the law of limitation and also prescription has been explained by Lord Plunket in a striking metaphor. He stated that time holds in on hand a scythe and in the other, a hour-glass. The scythe moves down the evidence of our rights while the hour-glass measures the period which renders that evidence superfluous. Commenting on this a learned author observes that the metaphor could have been completed by adding, so far as the state is concerned, that the frame work of the hour-glass will certainly decay, the glass be broken and the sand escape.