Sagufa Ahmed & Ors. Vs. Upper Assam Plywood Products Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.
Case Number: Civil Appeal Nos. 3007-3008 of 2020
Judges Name: Hon’ble Judges S. A. Bobde J, A. S. Bopanna J, V. Ramasubramanian J.
Order dated: 18.09.2020
Facts of the Case:
- The appellants herein together claim to hold 24.89% of the shares of a company by name Upper Assam Plywood Products Private Limited, which is the first respondent herein. The appellants moved an application before the Guwahati Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as ‘NCLT’) for the winding up of the company. The said petition was dismissed by the NCLT by an order dated 25.10.2019.
- According to the appellants, they applied for a certified copy of the order of the NCLT dated 25.10.2019, on 21.11.2019 (though the appellants have claimed in the Memo of Appeal that they applied for a certified copy on 21.11.2019, the copy application filed as Annexure P1 bears the date 22.11.2019).
- According to the appellants, the certified copy of the order dated 25.10.2019 passed by the NCLT was received by their counsel on 19.12.2019, pursuant to the copy application made on 21.11.2019.
- Though the appellants admittedly received the certified copy of the order on 19.12.2019, they chose to file the statutory appeal before NCLAT on 20.07.2020. The appeal was filed along with an application for condonation of delay.
- By an order dated 04.08.2020, the Appellate Tribunal dismissed the application for condonation of delay on the ground that the Tribunal has no power to condone the delay beyond a period of 45 days. Consequently, the appeal was also dismissed. It is against the dismissal of both the application for condonation of delay as well as the appeal, that the appellants have come up with the present appeals.
Whether the Appellate tribunal failed to take note of the lockdown as well as the order passed by this court extending the period of limitation for filing any proceeding?
Supreme Court held:
The Supreme court observed the judgment Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board vs Subash Projects and Marketing Limited and held that the order of this court extended only “the period of limitation” and not the period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute. The Supreme court delving into the world ‘prescribed period’ held that he expression appearing in section 4 of Limitation Act cannot be construed to mean anything other than the period of limitation. The court ruled: “The order passed by this court was intended to benefit vigilant litigants who were prevented due to the pandemic and the lockdown, from initiating proceedings within the period of limitation prescribed by general or special law”. In light of the above, the court dismissed the appeal of the appellant.