Condonation of delay refers to the extension of the prescribed time limit in certain cases, subject to sufficient cause. This concept primarily applies to applications and appeals, excluding suits. The rationale behind this exclusion lies in considering the doctrine as an exception to the general rule of the bar of limitation under legislation, hence it does not encompass suits. This doctrine is an exception to the limitation period.

Condonation of delay constitutes a doctrine enshrined in the Limitation Act, 1963. This Act establishes time limits for various suits and specifies the period within which a suit, appeal, or application can be instituted. The expiration of such a time period results in the extinguishment of the remedy available to the aggrieved party.

Condonation of Delay Under Limitation Act of 1963:

The Limitation Act of 1963 establishes time limits for filing applications or suits in any court or tribunal. It lays down specific factors that authorities must consider when determining time limits for appeals and suits.

Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 addresses the condonation of delay. Under this provision, if a party has sufficient reasons for not filing their application within the prescribed time period, courts may entertain the party’s request if the reasons provided are deemed satisfactory.

The term ‘sufficient reasons’ is not expressly defined and is subject to the discretion of the court. The court evaluates the facts and circumstances of each case before making the determination. According to the Limitation Act, the time limits for specific cases are as follows:

– Suits concerning accounts, contracts, and movable properties: 3 years.

– Suits concerning immovable properties: 12 years, while suits related to mortgaged properties have a time restriction of 30 years.

– Tort suits: 1 year, whereas compensation cases have a time limit of 3 years.

– Offences under the Criminal Procedure Code and Code of Civil Procedure: 30-90 days.

Exceptions to Condonation of Delay:

Certain exceptions pertain to the scope of the doctrine of condonation of delay (Section 5):

– The doctrine applies solely to Criminal Proceedings.

– It does not encompass “suits” but only covers appeals and applications.

– Except for an application under any of the provisions of Order XXI of the Code of Civil      Procedure, 1908, the doctrine encompasses all appeals and applications.

General Principles of the Condonation of Delay:

In the case of Collector Land Acquisition v. Mst. Katiji, the Supreme Court established certain principles to guide the administration of the doctrine of condonation of delay:

– Typically, a litigant does not stand to benefit from filing an appeal late.

– Refusal to condone the delay can result in a meritorious matter being dismissed, leading to the defeat of justice. Conversely, condoning the delay merely allows the case to be decided on its merits, based on evidence rather than technical or procedural grounds.

– The principle that “every day’s delay must be explained” should not be applied irrationally. It should be interpreted sensibly, rather than strictly literally.

– When choosing between substantial justice and technical considerations, the former should be favored, as the opposing party cannot claim injustice due to a bona fide delay.

– There is no presumption that delay is deliberate. The litigant has nothing to gain from delaying and faces serious risks by doing so.

Vijay Laxman Bhawe Since Deceased v. P and S Nirman Pvt Ltd, 2024

In the recent judgment of the Supreme Court it was held that the third-party application for condonation of delay is inadmissible, stating that such actions would allow non-involved parties to seek suit restoration.

The bench, consisting of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, observed, ‘Entertaining an application filed at the behest of a stranger for condonation of delay in filing an application for restoration of the subject suit is totally unsustainable in law.

According to the court, allowing such applications would permit individuals not party to the proceedings to interfere in legal matters. The bench emphasized that the application filed by respondent No.1, who was not even impleaded in the subject suit, is totally illegal.

The Court questioned the trial court’s decision to consider an application filed by a third-party after a two-year delay, criticizing the necessity and propriety of such action.

As a result, the Supreme Court overturned both the trial court and the High Court’s decisions, allowing the appeal.


The Law of Limitation and Condonation of Delay are two significant mechanisms for efficient litigation and prompt resolution of cases. The Law of Limitation ensures that cases are filed within the prescribed period, thereby preventing unnecessary delays, and embodies the principle of Vigilantibus non dormentibus jura subveniunt (the law assists those who are vigilant, not those who sleep). Conversely, condonation of delay acts as a safeguard to the law of limitation, allowing certain cases where the delay in filing the suit can be justified, i.e., backed by “sufficient cause.”

There are instances where the Court has refused to condone even a one-day delay, while in other cases, delays of several years have been excused. The determination varies on a case-by-case basis, and the Court exercises discretionary jurisdiction to decide whether a case is suitable for condonation or not.

Arisha Qureshi (Legal Intern)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.