Report No. 85
16.7. Difficulty as to limitation.-
Recognising that on this construction, certain difficulties might arise in relation to limitation, the Supreme Court also held that the time for the purpose of filing the application under section 110A did not start running before the constitution of the Tribunal. In the case before the Supreme Court, time had started running for barring of the suit, but before its expiry, the forum was changed and for the purpose of the changed forum, time could not be deemed to have started running before a remedy of going to the new forum had been made available.1 The following passage from the judgment of the Supreme Court represents the principle enunciated by the Supreme Court on the question of limitation2:-
"Apropos the bar of limitation provided in section 110A(3), one can say, on the basis of the authorities aforesaid, that strictly speaking the bar does not operate in relation to an application for compensation arising out of an accident which occurred prior to the constitution of the claims Tribunal. But since in such a case there is a change of forum unlike the fact of the said cases the reasonable view to take would be that such an application can be filed within a reasonable time of the constitution of the Tribunal, which ordinarily and generally, would be the time of limitation mentioned in sub-section (3).
If the application could not be made within that time from the date of the constitution of the Tribunal, in a given case, the further time taken in the making of the application may be held to be the reasonable time on the facts of that case for the making of the application or the delay made after the expiry of the period of limitation provided in sub-section (3) from the date of the constitution of the Tribunal can be condoned under the proviso to that sub-section.
In any view of the matter, in our opinion, the jurisdiction of the civil court is ousted as soon as the Claims Tribunal is constituted and the filing of the application before the Tribunal is the only remedy available to the claimant. On the facts of this case, we hold that the remedy available to the respondents was to go before the Claims Tribunal and since the law was not very clear on the point, the time of about four months taken in approaching the Tribunal after its constitution can be held to be either a reasonable time or the delay of less than two months could well be condoned under the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 110A."
1. Page 241, para. 7 in the AIR 1976 SC 237.
2. Para. 242, para. 10 in the AIR 1976 SC 237.