Report No. 89
22.7. Law Commission Report on the Act of 1908.- Section 23 was not disturbed in 1908. The Law Commission in its Report1 on the Act of 1908 recommended expansion of the concept of "tort", and had suggested a draft clause which ran as unde.-
"21. Continuing breaches and wrongs.- In the case of a continuing breach of contract and in the case of a continuing wrong independent of contract, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time during which the breach or the wrong, as the case may be, continues."
The Law Commission had also recommended that the expression "tort" should be defined to include "all civil wrongs independent of contract."
1. Law Commission of India, 3rd Report (Limitation Act, 1908).
22.8. Act of 1963.- However, in section 22 as it emerged in its final form in the Act of 1963, the words "continuing wrong independent of contract" have been substituted by the words "continuing tort". The definition of "tort" in section 2(m) defines it as a civil wrong which is not exclusively the breach of a contract or breach of trust. This is not the definition that was recommended by the Law Commission.1
1. Para. 22.7, supra.
22.9. Defect in the present language.- The language used has introduced a deficiency in the section. The Law Commission had recommended inclusion of all continuing wrongs in the section, but, in the present language (read with the definition of "tort") section 22 does not cover breach of trust or violation of statute.
22.10. Violations of statute.- We have considered the matter carefully. It appears that there is no reason for excluding from section 22 continuing breaches of trusts or continuous violations of statute. No doubt, section 10 does take care of certain breaches of trusts; but the topic under discussion is of continuing wrongs. It is proper that section 22 should cover all continuing wrongs contractual and non-contractual.
The word "wrong" can be given the widest possible connotation, and would include infringement of trade marks or other forms of intellectual property, violation of easements and breach of statutory duty. In a Punjab case1, the fixing of a Persian wheel over a well which was in the enjoyment of the other co-owner was held to amount to a continuing wrong.
Similarly, in a Lahore case2, it was held (disregarding the technical aspect) that under Muslim Law, marriage, being a civil contract, the husband's impotency was a continuing breach of contract of marriage. As section 22 embodies a general enunciation of the principal of continuing wrongs, we are of the view that it would be desirable to put the matter beyond any doubt.
22.11. Need to widen the section to cover all wrongs.- Accordingly, section 22 should be revised, so as to make it clear that the section is not limited only to breaches of contract or torts (as defined in the Act), but covers all continuing wrongs.
22.12. Relief claimed to be immaterial.- It is also necessary to refer to another aspect of section 22, which figures in a recent Madhya Pradesh ruling1. That ruling seems to assume that section 22 (continuing wrongs) is confined to suits for damages and does not, in terms, apply to suits where the relief for prayer is an injunction.
Of course, in that case, the court did hold that the cause of action for a suit for an injunction restraining the defendants from (illegally) recovering a sum of money from the plaintiff arises every time a threat of such recovery is made. However, to avoid recurrence of such a controversy, we think that it should be made clear by an express provision that section 22 applies, irrespective of the nature of the relief claimed for the continuing wrong.
1. Mohanlal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1980 MP 1 (FB).
22.13. Recommendation.- In the light of the above discussion, we recommended that section 22 should be revised as unde.-
Revised section 22
"22. Continuing Wrongs.- In the case of a continuing breach of contract and in the case of a continuing wrong independent of contract, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time during which the breach or the wrong, as the case may be, continues.
Explanatio.-This section applies whatever be the relief claimed."