Limitation period for filing Special Leave Petition (SLP) in Supreme Court

Limitation period for filing Special Leave Petition (SLP) in Supreme Court

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Question: What is the period of limitation for filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution? I did not find any limitation period mentioned in Article 136 itself. In my case, the order of the high court that I want to challenge was passed by high court about 5 months back. Can I challenge it now by filing SLP? Or, it will be dismissed on the ground of delay only?

Answer: Please understand that Article 136 of the Constitution does not lay down the period of limitation for filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) under that Article. The period of limitation for filing SLP is laid down in the Supreme Court Rules. At present, the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, are applicable.

Special Leave Petition (Civil):

Order XXI of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, deals with the SLP (Civil). Under Rule 1 of this Order, the limitation period for filing SLP (Civil) is as under:

  • Where certificate of fitness to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused in a case by the High Court (against whose order SLP is being filed), the limitation period is 60 days from the date of such refusal.
  • In all other cases, the limitation period for filing SLP (Civil) is 90 days from the date of the judgment or order being appealed against.

In computing the above limitation period, the provisions of Sections 4, 5, 12 and 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 will be applicable. For example, the time required for obtaining a certified copy of the high court order, which is being challenged, will be excluded.

Special Leave Petition (Criminal):

Order XXII of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, deals with the SLP (Criminal). Under Rule 1 of this Order, the limitation period for filing SLP (Criminal) is as under:

  • Where certificate of fitness to appeal to the Supreme Court was refused in a case by the High Court (against whose order SLP is being filed), the limitation period is 60 days from the date of such refusal.
  • In any other case which does not involve sentence of death, the limitation period for filing SLP (Civil) is 90 days from the date of the judgment or order being appealed against.
  • In any other case which involves sentence of death, the limitation period for filing SLP (Civil) is 60 days from the date of the judgment or order being appealed against.

In computing the above limitation period, the provisions of Sections 4, 5, 12 and 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 will be applicable. For example, the time required for obtaining a certified copy of the high court order, which is being challenged, will be excluded.

As mentioned above, since both in the case of SLP (Civil) as well as SLP (Criminal), Section 5 of the Limitation Act shall be applicable for the purposes of the limitation period, therefore, an SLP may be admitted by the Supreme Court after the prescribed period if the petitioner satisfies the Supreme Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period. Thus, the above-mentioned limitation period of 60 days or 90 days, as the case may be, may be extended by the Supreme Court in appropriate cases by condoning the delay for sufficient cause being shown. For this purpose, an application for condonation of delay needs to be filed (showing reasons for delay) along with the SLP.

Generally, it is noticed that the Supreme Court would generally condone delay of a few months.

In your case, the delay appears to be of about 2 months (after deducting the allowed period of 3 months from the total period of 5 months). You may file an application for condonation of delay along with your SLP by showing reasons for delay. If the reasons for delay are satisfactory, then the delay is likely to be condoned by the Supreme Court. Generally, the court has liberal attitude in this regard if you show some good reasons for the delay.

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