Limitation Act 1963

Last updated: December 2020 | 4 min read


A prescriptive right is essentially one that is created by uncontested assertion of the right for a given period of time. The principle is based in many ways on a sort of estoppel in rem.

Provision of the Act

In India, the Limitation Act, 1963 is the legislation that governs the period within which suits are to be filed, with relevant provisions for delay, condonation thereof etc. The principle that pervades statutes of limitation at common law is that ‘limitation extinguishes the remedy, but not the right' this means that the legal right itself is not defeated, but only the right to claim it in a court of law is extinguished. An exception to this general rule is the law of prescriptive rights, whereby the right itself is destroyed. Section 27 of the limitation Act, 1963 proclaims:“Section 27: Extinguishment of Right to Property at the determination of the period hereby limited to any person for instituting a suit for possession of any property, his right to such property shall be extinguished.”

This provision, in Articles 64 and 65 of the Limitation Act, 1963 establishes the law of adverse possession as it stands in India today. These two Articles both prescribe a period of twelve years within which the right to claim a particular property is extinguished, but the two differ in so far as the date on which such period of limitation begins to run.Article 64 deals with cases where the dispute is over possession not necessarily based title, and in such cases the period of limitation runs from the time when the plaintiff was dispossessed of the property.Article 65 deals with cases where the dispute is over title as such also, and in such cases the period of limitation runs from the time when the defendant becomes adverse to that of plaintiff.

Elements of the Act

One must note that the law of adverse possession is no longer what it used to be, a tool of a powerful squatter buttressed by the lack of awareness on part of the true owner and an ancient law. Today, the law of adverse possession is viewed with great circumspection by the judiciary, and this is a trend that commenced abroad.The Act created exceptions to the normal statute of limitations in addition to the previous ones of fraud and mistake. It introduced an exception if for example; the permission of the court had been gained to bring a case or the "material facts" of the case included "facts of a decisive character" which the claimant was not aware of until after the expiry of the statute of limitations.

Where these two requirements were fulfilled, a case could be brought as long as it was within twelve months of the claimant finding out the "facts of a decisive character". The same principles applied if the injured parties were dead and the claim was being brought on behalf of his estate or dependants.

Procedure to get litigation from the Act

The Limitation Act, 1963, prescribed limitation with a view to see that a litigant does not drag on the litigation. Section 5 gives an opportunity to a litigant to file applications beyond the prescribed period of limitation provided; he is able to establish that he was prevented by sufficient cause from approaching the Court within the said period. Even though explanation for day- to-day delay is not being insisted by the Courts, the litigant has to nevertheless furnish the satisfactory explanation for filing the application beyond the prescribed period of limitation. This responsibility on the part of the litigant is much more in cases of abnormal delays, for by such delays right came to be vested in his adversary and such a right cannot be easily taken away by making unduly liberal approach by the Court.


Limitation and compensation of Delay are two effective implementations in the quick disposal of cases and effective litigation. The law on limitation keeps a check on pulling of cases and prescribes time period  within which the suit can be filed and the time available within which the person can get the remedy conveniently. The law of compensation of delay keeps a check on the pulling of cases and prescribes a time period within which the suit can be filed and the time available within which the person can get the remedy conveniently. The law compensation of delay keeps the principle of natural justice alive and also states the fact that different people might have different problem as and the same sentence or a singular rule may not apply to all of them in the same way. Thus it is essential to hear them and decide accordingly whether they fit in the criteria of the judgment or whether they deserve a second chance.

Full text of "Limitation Act 1963" available here

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