Delay cannot be condoned as per Limitation Act if Special Act prescribes different limitation period: Kerala High Court

    The petitioner had filed an appeal before the Commissioner along with an application to condone a delay of one year.

    The Commissioner had rejected the petitioner’s appeal on the ground that it was barred by limitation.

    It may be noted that the Gratuity Act prescribes a limitation period of 60 days, extendable by another 60 days if there are sufficient reasons for the delay.

    The High Court was called to consider whether, in addition to this period of limitation under the Gratuity Act (60+60 days), the petitioner could avail the benefit of Section 5 of the Limitation Act.

    Section 5 enables courts to admit cases even after a prescribed limitation period if the appellant or the applicant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.

    After examining the relevant provisions and various precedents, the High Court concluded that this provision could not be invoked by the petitioner in this case to extend the limitation period applicable to the gratuity dispute at hand.

    The Court observed that in expressly prescribing a 60+60 limitation period for filing appeals in gratuity disputes, the Gratuity Act, under Section 7(7), had excluded the application of the Limitation Act.

    “On plain and simple reading of the aforementioned provisions, it is evident that the legislature while enacting sub-Section 7 of Section 7 specifically excluded the application of limitation Act by providing the limitation of appeal for a period of 60+60 days. Otherwise, the limitation to file an appeal under the schedule of the limitation Act is thirty (30) days. Thus for all intends and purposes, there cannot be any condonation of delay by taking the aid of the aforementioned provisions by entertaining an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act,the Court concluded.

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