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Report No. 60

8.16. Extension to statutory instruments recommended.-

We propose to extend section 10 to statutory instruments. It has been pointed out in a Full Bench decision of the Allahabad High Court1 that section 4, Limitation Act, and section 10, General Clauses Act, give expression to the general principles of law enunciated by the maxims "lex non cogit ad impossibilia"-the law does not compel a man to do that which he cannot possibly perform,-and "actus curive nominem gravabit"-an act of the court shall prejudice no man.

"These sections do not in any way extend the period of limitation, nor do they furnish any data for computation of time; they merely embody a rule of elementary justice that if the time allowed by statute to do an act or to take a proceeding expires on a day when the court is closed, it may be done on the next sitting of the court. In a number of other cases,2 it has been pointed out that section 4, Limitation Act, and section 10, General Clauses Act embody the general principles enshrined in the two maxims "lex non cogit ad impossibilia and Actus curiae nominem gravabit." Even if section 4, Limitation Act is not applicable as contended by the appellant, the respondents can invoke section 10 of the General Clauses Act. If neither of the provisions can assist the respondents, they can still invoke the general principles embodied in the two provisions."

1. Raj Pande v. Sheepugan Pande, AIR 1942 All 422 (FB) (per Dar J.).

2. Balkrishna v. Tina, (1911) 7 Nag LR 176: 12 IC 810; and Dhanusingh v. Keshoprasad, AIR 1923 Nag 246, referred to in Rambir v. Prabhakar, AIR 1955 Nag 300 (301)

8.16A. In a Supreme Court case,1 section 10 was applied to statutory rules. Section 81(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, enacts that the election petition may be presented "within such time as may be prescribed." Rule 119 of the rules under the Act provided a time limit, but used the words "not later than 14 days." The Court observed-

"It is obvious that the rule-making authority could not have intended to go further than what the section itself had enacted, and if the language of the rule is construed in conjunction with and under the coverage of the section under which it is framed, the words "not later than fourteen days, must be held to mean the same thing as 'within a period of fourteen days.' We entertain no doubt that the Legislature used both the expressions as meaning the same thing, and there are, accordingly, no grounds for holding that section 10 is not applicable to petitions falling within rule 119."

Later, the Court described section 10 as "a beneficent enactment."

1. Harinder Singh v. Karnail Singh, AIR 1957 SC 271 (273) (Venkatarama Aiyer J.).

8.17. We also propose to substitute the word "specified" for the word "prescribed" in section 10, since the word "prescribed" will now have a special meaning.1

1. See section 3-"prescribed".

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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