Sec.5 of the Limitation Act not applies before the statutory Authorities – We, however, are not expressing any opinion with regard to exercise of suo motu by the Commissioner under Section 69(2) in the present case and it is for the Commissioner to invoke his power under Section 69(2) if he is so satisfied.= Whether applicability of Section 29(2) of Limitation Act is with regard to different limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application to be filed only in a Court or Section 29(2) can be pressed in service with regard to filing of a suit, appeal or application before statutory authorities and tribunals provided in Special or authorities and tribunals provided in Special or Local Laws?Whether the statutory scheme of Act 1959 indicate that Section 5 of Limitation Act is applicable to proceedings before its authorities? = only computation of limitation has been made applicable to the proceedings under Act, 1959. Section 115 cannot be read in a manner as to providing applicability of Section 5. There is no other provision in the scheme from which it can be inferred that Act, 1959 intended applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act to proceedings of appeal before the Commission. We, thus, conclude that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is not applicable as per the scheme of Act, 1959. but We, however, are not expressing any opinion with regard to exercise of suo motu by the Commissioner under Section 69(2) in the present case and it is for the Commissioner to invoke his power under Section 69(2) if he is so satisfied.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4582 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF SLP(CIVIL) NO. 30365 OF 2018)
GANESAN REP BY ITS POWER
AGENT G. RUKMANI GANESAN … APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
THE COMMISSIONER, THE TAMIL NADU
HINDU RELIGIOUS AND CHARITABLE
ENDOWMENTS BOARD & ORS. … RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
ASHOK BHUSHAN,J.
This appeal has been filed against the judgment dated
04.12.2017 of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
dismissing the writ appeal filed by the Appellant. The
appellant had filed the writ appeal against the judgment
of learned single Judge dated 22.08.2014 by which
judgment writ petition filed by the appellant challenging
the judgment and order dated 31.07.2013 of the
Commissioner Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowment Board
has been dismissed.
2

  1. Brief facts of the case necessary to be noticed for
    deciding the appeal are: ­
    2.1 The appellant filed an application under Section
    63 of Hindu Religious endowment charitable Act,
    1959 (hereinafter referred to as Act 1959)
    claiming his Ambalam right. The Joint
    Commissioner of Hindu Religious & charitable
    endowment Board after holding an inquiry passed
    an order dated 21.12.2010 holding that appellant
    to be entitled for Ambalam Right and to receive
    first respect as an Ambalam in the village,
    Tirupathartalu, Shiv Gangi District, Tamil Nadu.
    2.2 Two writ petitions were filed in the High Court
    challenging the order dated 31.12.2010 being
    W.P.M.D. No. 14382 of 2011 filed by Radha
    Krishnan and W.P. No.185 of 2012 filed by
    Madhavan. Both the writ petitions were dismissed
    by the High Court vide its judgment dated
    10.01.2012. A W.P.M.D. No. 379 of 2012 was filed
    by one Laxmanan in which initially an interim
    3
    order dated 12.01.2012 was passed. The third
    respondent P.R. Ramanathan filed an appeal
    No.2007 OF 2012 against the order dated
    31.12.2010 passed by Joint Commissioner. The
    appeal filed by third respondent was under
    Section 69 of Act, 1959. W.P.M.D. No.3379 of
    2013 was filed by P.R. Ramanathan, third
    respondent, seeking a direction to decide his
    statutory appeal filed under Section 69 of Act
  2. The High Court vide its judgment and order
    dated 07.03.2013 directed the commissioner to
    dispose of the appeal expeditiously and in any
    case within a period of four months to the date
    of the copy of the order.
    2.3 A delay condonation application dated 30.04.2013
    was filed by third respondent in his appeal no.
    2007 of 2012 praying for condonation of delay of
    266 days. The cause for delay shown was that
    appellant was ill for 7­8 months and was unable
    to travel to Chennai to instruct his counsel. A
    counter affidavit was filed by the appellant
    objecting the application filed by the appellant
    4
    for condonation of delay. In his counter
    affidavit appellant took a plea that Section 5
    of the Limitation Act is not applicable.
    2.4 Learned commissioner passed an order dated
    31.07.2013 condoning the delay of 266 days in
    filing the appeal. Against the order dated
    31.07.2013, writ petition was filed by the
    appellant being W.P.M.D. No. 13804 of 2013.
    Learned single Judge referring to certain
    provision of the Act 1959 as well as few
    decisions of this Court and Madras High Court
    held that in appeal proceedings before the
    Commissioner Section 5 of the Limitation Act is
    fully applicable and there is sufficient cause
    and the delay has rightly been condoned by the
    Commissioner. Aggrieved against the judgment of
    learned single Judge, writ appeal has been filed
    by the appellant which has been dismissed by the
    impugned judgment.
    2.5 The Division Bench of the Madras High Court
    placed reliance on several judgments of this
    5
    Court and after referring to various provisions
    of the Act, 1959, held that Act 1959 does not
    exclude the applicability of the Limitation Act,
  3. The appellant aggrieved by the Division
    Bench judgment dated 04.12.2017 has come up in
    this appeal.
  4. We have heard Shri M. Ajmal Khan, senior Advocate for
    the appellant and Shri S.Nagvathu, senior Advocate
    appearing for the third respondent, as well as learned
    counsel appearing for the State.
  5. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the
    commissioner has no jurisdiction to consider application
    filed under Section 5 of Limitation Act. It is submitted
    that the commissioner who is empowered to decide the
    appeal under Section 69 of Act 1959 is not a court. He
    submits that Section 6(6) defines the commissioner
    whereas Section 6(7) defines the Court, which clearly
    indicate that commissioner is not the court. It is
    submitted that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is
    applicable only in application filed before a Court. The
    6
    commissioner being not a Court, there was no
    applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act.
  6. He further submits that by virtue of Section 115 of
    Act 1959, the only provision of the Limitation Act which
    has been made applicable is that the time requisite for
    obtaining certified copy of order or decree shall be
    excluded. He submits that specifically applying
    provisions of Section 12(2) of Limitation Act, indicates
    that other provisions have not been made applicable to
    the Act 1959. He submits that in event the limitation Act
    was to be applicable to the proceeding of appeal under
    1959 Act, there was no occasion of Section 115 of Act
  7. Limitation Act has been applied only to the extent
    as mentioned in Section 115, other provisions are not
    applicable.
  8. Learned counsel for the respondent refuting the
    submissions of learned counsel for the appellant submits
    that although Commissioner is not a Court as defined in
    Act 1959, but it is a court for the purposes of Section 5
    of the Limitation Act. Relying on Section 110, he submits
    7
    that procedure provided for hearing of appeal is as
    nearly as may be in accordance with the procedure under
    the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to the trial of suits
    or the hearing of the appeals as the case may be. The
    Commissioner has thus all powers of the Court for hearing
    the appeal. The authorities under Act 1959 had trappings
    of the court. Commissioner decide the appeal in a
    judicial manner. The scheme of Act 1959 does not indicate
    that it never intended to exclude Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act. Reliance has been placed on Section 29(2)
    of the Limitation Act and it is submitted that there
    being no express exclusion of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act, Section 5 of the Limitation Act is fully attracted
    in hearing of an appeal by the commissioner.
  9. Learned counsel for both the parties have placed
    reliance on various judgments of this court which shall
    be referred to while considering their submissions in
    detail.
  10. After hearing learned counsel for both the parties
    and perusal of the record, following are the questions
    which arises for consideration in this appeal:­
    8
    1) Whether the Commissioner while hearing the appeal
    under Section 69 of Act, 1959, is a Court?
    2) Whether applicability of Section 29(2) of
    Limitation Act is with regard to different
    limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or
    application to be filed only in a Court or Section
    29(2) can be pressed in service with regard to
    filing of a suit, appeal or application before
    statutory authorities and tribunals provided in
    Special or Local Laws?
    3) Whether the Commissioner while hearing the appeal
    under Section 69 of Act 1959 is entitled to
    condone a delay in filing an appeal applying the
    provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act,
    1963?
    4) Whether the statutory scheme of Act 1959 indicate
    that Section 5 of Limitation Act is applicable to
    proceedings before its authorities?
    Question No.1
  11. The above question has to be answered in reference to
    9
    the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments
    Act, 1959. Both the “Commissioner” and “Court” has been
    defined under the Act, 1959. The Commissioner is defined
    under Section 6(6) which is to the following effect:
    “Section 6(6) “Commissioner” means the
    Commissioner appointed under section 9;”
  12. The Court is defined in Section 6(7) in the following
    manner:
    “Section 6(7) “Court” means­ (i) in relation to
    a math or temple situated in the Presidency
    town, the Chennai City Civil Court;
    (ii) in relation to a math or temple situated
    elsewhere, the Subordinate Judge’s Court having
    jurisdiction over the area in which the math or
    temple is situated, or if there is no such
    Court, the District Court having such
    jurisdiction;
    (iii) in relation to a specific endowment
    attached to a math or temple, the Court which
    would have jurisdiction as aforesaid in
    relation to the math or temple;
    (iv) in relation to a specific endowment
    attached to two or more maths or temples, any
    Court which would have jurisdiction as
    aforesaid in relation to either or any of such
    maths or temples;”
  13. Section 8 of the Act, 1959 enumerates the authorities
    10
    under the Act. Section 8 is as follows:­
    “Section 8.Authorities under the Act.­ There
    shall be the following classes of authorities
    under this Act, namely.­
    (a) The Commissioner;
    (aa)Additional Commissioner;
    (b) Joint Commissioner;
    (c) Deputy Commissioners; and
    (d) Assistant Commissioners.”
  14. Section 9(1) provides that the Government shall
    appoint the Commissioner as it may think fit. Section
    9(2) provides various modes of appointment to the post of
    Commissioner.
  15. The definition of the Court refers to the Civil Court
    constituted by Legislature in the State for
    administration of justice. The conventional definition of
    the Court as mentioned in Advanced Law Lexicon by P.
    Ramanatha Aiyer, Third Edition is:
    “A Court is defined in Coke on Littleton as a
    place wherein justice is judicially
    administered. “In every Court, there must be
    at least three constituent parts­ the actor,
    reus and judex: the actor, or plaintiff, who
    complains or an injury done; the reus, or
    defendant, who is called upon to make
    satisfaction for it; and the judex, or judicial
    power, which is to examine the truth of the
    fact, and to determine the law arising upon
    that fact, and if any injury appears to have
    11
    been done, to ascertain, and b its officers to
    apply, the remedy,” (3 Steph. Comm. 6th Ed.,
    pp.383, 385). See also 30 M. 326: 2 MLT 267,
    Court is a body in the government to which the
    public administration of justice is delegated;
    an organised body, with defined powers, meeting
    at certain times, and places, for the hearing
    and decision of causes and other matters
    brought before it, and aided in this, its
    proper business, by its proper officers, viz.,
    attorneys and counsels, to present and manage
    the business, clerks to record and attest its
    acts and decisions, and ministerial officers to
    execute its commands and secure order in its
    proceedings.”
  16. The constitution of Court in this country has been
    by legislative enactments. For constituting Civil Courts,
    the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887 was
    enacted which provided classes of civil courts and
    provided for constitution of courts of District Judges,
    Sub­ordinate Judges and Munsifs. Similarly for civil
    courts in the town of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, the
    Presidency Small Causes Act, 1882 was enacted.
  17. The definition of Court as contained in Section 6(7)
    as noted above, thus, clearly indicates that what Act,
    1959 refers to a Court is a civil court created in the
    State. The scheme of the Act clearly indicates that
    Commissioner is an authority under the Act who is to be
    12
    appointed by the Government. The Commissioner is
    entrusted with various functions under the Act and one of
    the functions entrusted to the Commissioner is hearing of
    the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959. In the
    present case we are concerned with Section 69 which is to
    the following effect:
    “Section 69.Appeal to the Commissioner.­(1)
    Any person aggrieved by any order passed by
    1[the Joint Commissioner or the Deputy
    Commissioner, as the case may be], under any of
    the foregoing sections of this chapter, may
    within sixty days from the date of the
    publication of the order or of the receipt
    thereof by him as the case may be, appeal to
    the Commissioner and the Commissioner may pass
    such order thereon as he thinks fit.
    (2) Any order passed by 1[the Joint
    Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, as the
    case may be], in respect of which no appeal has
    been preferred within the period specified in
    sub­section (1) may be revised by the
    Commissioner suo motu and the Commissioner may
    call for and examine the records of the
    proceedings as to satisfy himself as to the
    regularity of such proceedings or the
    correctness, legality or propriety of any
    decision or order passed by 1[the Joint
    Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, as the
    case may be]. Any such order passed by the
    Commissioner in respect of an order passed by
    1[the Joint Commissioner or the Deputy
    Commissioner, as the case may be], shall be
    deemed to have been passed by the Commissioner
    on an appeal preferred to him under sub­section
    (1).
    (3) Any order passed by the Commissioner on
    such appeal against which no suit lies to the
    13
    Court under the next succeeding section or in
    which no suit has been instituted in the Court
    within the time specified in sub­section (1) of
    section 70 may be modified or cancelled by the
    Commissioner if the order has settled or
    modified a scheme for the administration of a
    religious institution or relates to any of the
    matters specified in section 66.”
  18. Section 70 of the Act further provides that any
    party aggrieved by an order of the Commissioner under
    sub­section (1) or sub­section (2) of Section 69 can file
    a suit in the Court against such order. Section 70 is as
    follows:
    “Section 70. Suits and appeals.­ (1) Any
    party aggrieved by an order passed by the
    Commissioner”­
    (i) under sub­section (1) or sub­section (2) of
    section 69 and relating to any of the matters
    specified in section 63, section 64 or section
    67; or
    (ii) under section 63, section 64 or section 67
    read with sub­section (1)(a), 2 or (4)(a) of
    section 22 or under section 65 may, within
    ninety days from the date of the receipt of
    such order by him, institute a suit in the
    Court against such order, and the Court may
    modify or cancel such order, but it shall have
    no power to stay of order of the Commissioner
    pending the disposal of the suit.
    (2) Any party aggrieved by a decree of the
    Court under sub­section (1), may, within ninety
    days from the date of the decree, appeal to the
    High Court.”
    14
  19. When an appeal is provided against the order of the
    Commissioner under Section 69 to the Court which is
    defined under Section 6(7), there is no question of
    treating the Commissioner as a Court under the statutory
    scheme of Act, 1959. We, thus, conclude that Commissioner
    is not a Court within the meaning of Act, 1959.
  20. We may, however, notice a judgment of this Court in
    S. Parthy vs. State of Bank of India, (2000) 5 SCC 355.
    In the above case Deputy Commissioner of Labour(Appeals)
    was an authority constituted under Section 41(2) of Tamil
    Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 to hear and
    decide appeal. The appellant, an official of the State
    Bank of India was removed by an order dated 11.01.1983
    after holding regular departmental proceedings. The
    appellant had filed an appeal under Section 41(2) of the
    Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 which
    appeal was dismissed holding that provisions of Tamil
    Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947 are not
    applicable to nationalized Banks. After the dismissal of
    the said appeal the orders of Deputy Commissioner of
    15
    Labour(Appeals) dated 01.09.1987 was challenged in this
    Court which too are rejected. It was thereafter appellant
    instituted a regular suit in the City Civil Court where
    the question came for consideration regarding
    applicability of Section 14 of Limitation Act. In the
    above case in paragraph 3 the issue was noted to the
    following effect:
    “3. In order to bring a suit within the period
    of limitation, the appellant claimed benefit of
    Section 14 of the Limitation Act on the ground
    that he had represented to the Local Board and,
    thereafter, filed an appeal under Section 41(2)
    of the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act,
    1947 and was, therefore, prosecuting “civil
    proceedings” in a court with due diligence. It
    is claimed that the entire period during which
    those proceedings were pending has to be
    excluded and if this is done, the suit will be
    well within limitation.”
  21. In the above context, this Court in paragraphs 12 to
    15 laid down following:
    “12. It will be noticed that Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act does not speak of a “civil
    court” but speaks only of a “court”. It is not
    necessary that the court spoken of in Section
    14 should be a “civil court”. Any authority or
    tribunal having the trappings of a court would
    be a “court” within the meaning of this
    section.
  22. Applying the above principles in the
    instant case, we are of the opinion that the
    Deputy Commissioner of Labour (Appeals), which
    was an authority constituted under Section
    16
    41(2) of the Tamil Nadu Shops and
    Establishments Act, 1947 to hear and decide
    appeals, was a “court” within the meaning of
    Section 14 of the Limitation Act and the
    proceedings pending before him were civil
    proceedings. It is not disputed that the
    appellant could file an appeal before the Local
    Board of the Bank, which was purely a
    departmental appeal. In this view of the
    matter, the entire period of time from the date
    of institution of the departmental appeal as
    also the period from the date of institution of
    the appeal under Section 41(2) before the
    Deputy Commissioner of Labour (Appeals) till it
    was dismissed will, therefore, have to be
    excluded for computing the period of limitation
    for filing the suit in question. If the entire
    period is excluded, the suit, it is not
    disputed, would be within time.”
  23. There are two reasons due to which the above case is
    not applicable in the present case. Firstly, in the above
    case this Court was considering applicability of Section
    14 of Limitation Act for excluding time (civil
    proceeding). The present is a case where applicability of
    Section 5 of the Limitation Act has to be examined. Thus,
    the above judgment is distinguished. The second reason
    for not relying the above judgment is three­Judge Bench
    judgment of this Court in The Commissioner of Sales Tax,
    U.P. Lucknow vs. M/s. Parson Tools and Plants, Kanpur,
    (1975) 4 SCC 22. In the above case under the U.P. Sales
    Tax Act, 1948 the appellate authority has been
    17
    constituted. The question arose as to whether the period
    taken in pursuing the appellate proceedings can be
    excluded by applying Section 14 of the Limitation Act for
    purposes of filing revision before the Revisional
    Authority under Section 10(3­B) of the U.P. Sales Tax
    Act, 1948. In the above context, this Court held that
    appellate authority and the Judge(Revisions) are not
    courts, hence, Section 14 of the Limitation Act shall not
    be applicable. In paragraph 9 following has been laid
    down:
    “9. The above observations were quoted with
    approval by this Court in Jagannath Prasad
    case1 and it was held that a Sales Tax Officer
    under U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 was not a court
    within the meaning of Section 195 of the Code
    of Criminal Procedure although he is required
    to perform certain quasi­judicial functions.
    The decision in Jagannath Prasad case it seems,
    was not brought to the notice of the High
    Court. In view of these pronouncements of this
    Court, there is no room for argument that the
    Appellate Authority and the Judge (Revisions)
    Sales tax exercising jurisdiction under the
    Sales Tax Act, are “courts”. They are merely
    Administrative Tribunals and “not courts”.
    Section 14, Limitation Act, therefore, does
    not, in terms apply to proceedings before such
    tribunals.”
  24. There being three­Judge Bench judgment having held
    that appellate authority under U.P. Sales Tax Act is not
    18
    a Court, we are not persuaded to follow the judgment of
    two­Judge Bench in P Sarthy (supra).
    Question Nos.2 and 3
  25. Both the above questions being inter­connected are
    taken together. The main question to be answered in this
    appeal is as to; whether the Commissioner while hearing
    appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is entitled to
    condone the delay in filing an appeal by applying the
    provision of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963?
    Whether on the strength of Section 29(2) of the
    Limitation Act, 1963 provisions of Sections 4 to 24
    (inclusive of the Limitation Act) shall apply in the
    proceedings of appeal before Commissioner under Section
    69 of the Act, 1959? When by special or local law a
    different period of limitation is prescribed for any
    suit, appeal or application, the suit, appeal or
    application contemplated under Section 29(2) are suit,
    appeal or application in a Court or Section 29(2) shall
    also cover suit, appeal or application which are to be
    filed before the statutory authorities or quasi­judicial
    authorities and tribunals also?
    19
  26. The Limitation Act, 1963 is an Act to consolidate
    and amend the law for the limitation of suits and other
    proceedings and for purposes connected therewith. The law
    of Limitation before enactment of Act, 1963 was governing
    by the law of limitation under Indian Limitation Act,
  27. The different provisions of Limitation Act, 1963
    refers to ‘Court’. Section 4 provides where the
    prescribed period for any suit, appeal or application
    expires on a day when the court is closed, the suit,
    appeal or application may be instituted, preferred or
    made on the day when the court reopens. Similarly,
    Section 5 provides that any appeal or any application,
    other than an application under any of the provisions of
    Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 may be
    admitted after the prescribed period, if the appellant or
    the applicant satisfies the court that he has sufficient
    cause for not preferring the appeal or making the
    application within such period. Section 6 refers to
    institution of a suit or making of application for the
    execution of a decree by a minor or insane, or an idiot
    who may institute the suit or make the application within
    the same period after the disability has ceased.
    20
  28. Sections 9,10 and 11 refer to suit. Section 12 deals
    with computation of period of limitation. The section
    refers to computation of period of limitation for an
    appeal or an application for leave to appeal or for
    revision or for review of a judgment, obviously was meant
    for judgment of a court. Section 13 again refers to
    Court. Section 14 specifically refers to the Court.
    Section 14 of the Act is as follows:
    “Section 14. Exclusion of time of
    proceeding bona fide in court without
    jurisdiction. –(1) In computing the period of
    limitation for any suit the time during which
    the plaintiff has been prosecuting with due
    diligence another civil proceeding, whether in
    a court of first instance or of the appeal or
    revision, against the defendant shall be
    excluded, where the proceeding relates to the
    same matter in issue and is prosecuted in good
    faith in a court which, from defect of
    jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature,
    is unable to entertain it.
    (2) In computing the period of limitation for
    any application, the time during which the
    applicant has been prosecuting with due
    diligence another civil proceeding, whether in
    a court of first instance or of appeal or
    revision, against the same party for the same
    relief shall be excluded, where such proceeding
    is prosecuted in good faith in a count of first
    instance or of appeal or revision, against the
    same party for the same relief shall be
    excluded, where such proceeding is prosecuted
    in good faith in a court which, from defect of
    21
    jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature,
    is unable to entertain it.
    (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in rule
    2 of Order XXIII of the Code of Civil
    Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), the provisions of
    sub­section (1) shall apply in relation to a
    fresh suit instituted on permission granted by
    the court under rule of that Order, where such
    permission is granted on the ground that the
    first suit must fail by reason of a defect in
    the jurisdiction of the court of other cause of
    a like nature.
    Explanation ­ For the purpose of this
    section, ­
    (a) in excluding the time during which a
    former civil proceeding was pending, the
    day on which that proceeding was instituted
    and the day on which it ended shall both be
    counted;
    (b) a plaintiff or an applicant resisting
    an appeal shall be deemed to be prosecuting
    a proceeding;
    (c)misjoinder of parties or of causes of
    action shall be deemed to be a cause of a
    like nature with defect of jurisdiction.”
  29. Subsequent Sections 16 and 17 refer to suits.
    Sections 18 to 21 again contain different provisions
    pertaining to computation of limitation. Thereafter comes
    Section 29, which is a saving provision. Section 29 is as
    follows:
    22
    “Section 29. Savings. – (1) Nothing in this
    Act, shall affect section 25 of the Indian
    Contract Act,1872.
    (2) Where any special or local law
    prescribes for any suit, appeal or application
    a period of limitation different from the
    period prescribed by the Schedule, the
    provisions of section 3 shall apply as if such
    period were the period prescribed by the
    Schedule and for the purpose of determining any
    period of limitation prescribed for any sit,
    appeal or application by any special or local
    law, the provisions contained in section 5 to
    24 (inclusive shall apply only in so far, as
    and to the extent to which, they are not
    expressly excluded by such special or local
    law.
    (3) Save as otherwise provided in any law
    for the time being in force with respect to
    marriage and divorce, nothing in this Act shall
    apply to any suit or other proceeding under any
    such law.
    (4) Sections 25 and 26 and the definition
    of “easement” in section 2 shall not apply to
    cases arising in the territories to which the
    Indian Easements Act,1882 may for the time
    being extend.
  30. The Schedule of the Act provides for “Periods of
    Limitation”. First Division deals with different kinds of
    suits. Second Division deals with appeals and Third
    Division deals with applications. The suits, appeals and
    applications which have been referred to in the Schedule
    obviously mean suits, appeals and applications to be
    23
    filed in Court as per the provisions referred to in the
    Act noted above.
  31. Section 29(2) provides that where any special or
    local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or application
    a period of limitation different from the period
    prescribed by the Schedule, the provisions of Section 3
    shall apply as if such period were the period prescribed
    by the Schedule and for the purpose of determining any
    period of limitation and the provisions contained in
    Sections 4 to 21 (inclusive) shall apply only in so far
    as, and to the extent to which, they are not expressly
    excluded by such special or local law. Whether
    prescription of appeal of limitation of any suit or
    application in any special or local law relates to suit,
    application or appeal to be filed in Court or it may
    refer to statutory authorities and tribunals also, is the
    question to be answered. Different special or local laws
    have been enacted by Legislature covering different
    subjects, different rights and liabilities, methodology
    of establishing, determining rights and liabilities and
    remedies provided therein. Special or local law may also
    provide remedy by institution of suits, appeals and
    24
    applications in the Courts, i.e., civil court and to its
    normal hierarchy and also create special forum for
    determining rights and liabilities and provide remedies.
    Most common example of creating statutory authorities for
    determining rights, liabilities and remedies are taxing
    statutes where assessing authorities have been provided
    for with hierarchy of authorities. The remedy of appeal
    and revision is also provided in the taxing statutes
    which authorities are different from normal civil courts.
    Section 29(2) in reference to different special or local
    laws came for consideration before this Court in large
    number of cases. This Court had occasion to consider the
    provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, in reference to
    different statutes which contain provisions of suits,
    appeals or applications to the
    courts/authorities/tribunals. There are series of
    judgments of this Court holding that provisions of the
    Limitation Act are directed only when suit, appeal or
    application are to be filed in a Court unless there are
    express provisions in a special or local law.
  32. Section 29(2) also came for consideration before
    this Court in several cases. There is another set of
    25
    cases where it was held that the provisions of the
    Limitation Act, 1963 is to be applied even for suit,
    appeal or application under special/local law is to be
    filed before statutory authorities and the tribunal. We
    shall notice both sets of cases to find out the ratio
    which need to be applied in the present case.
  33. The first case to be noticed is Town Municipal
    Council, Athani vs. The Presiding Officer, Labour Courts,
    Hubli,(1969) 1 SCC 873. In the above case applications
    under Section 33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act,
    1947 were filed by various workmen of the appellant. The
    question which was considered by this Court in the above
    was as to whether Article 137 of the Schedule of the
    Limitation Act, 1963 governs applications under Section
    33(c)(2) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Referring
    to various articles of Limitation Act, 1963, this Court
    laid down following:
    “12…………The scope of the various articles in
    this division cannot be held to have been so
    enlarged as to include within them applications
    to bodies other than courts, such as a quasi
    judicial tribunal, or even an executive
    authority. An Industrial Tribunal or a Labour
    Court dealing with applications or references
    under the Act are not courts and they are in no
    26
    way governed either by the Code of Civil
    Procedure or the Code of Criminal Procedure. We
    cannot, therefore, accept the submission made
    that this article will apply even to
    applications made to an Industrial Tribunal or
    a Labour Court…………”
  34. A three­Judge Bench of this Court in Nityananda, M.
    Joshi and others. vs. Life Insurance Corporation of India
    and others, (1965) 2 SCC 199, had occasion to consider
    the applicability of Article 137 of the Limitation Act to
    an application filed under Section 33(c)(1) and (2) of
    the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 before the Labour
    Court. Three­Jude bench categorically held that the
    scheme of the Limitation Act is that it only deals with
    application to Courts, and the Labour Court is not a
    Court within Limitation Act, 1963. Following was laid
    down in paragraph 3:
    “3. In our view Article 137 only contemplates
    applications to Courts. In the Third Division
    of the Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 all
    the other applications mentioned in the various
    articles are applications filed in a court.
    Further Section 4 of the Limitation Act, 1963,
    provides for the contingency when the
    prescribed period for any application expires
    on a holiday and the only contingency
    contemplated is “when the court is closed.”
    Again under Section 5 it is only a court which
    is enabled to admit an application after the
    27
    prescribed period has expired if the court is
    satisfied that the applicant had sufficient
    cause for not preferring the application. It
    seems to us that the scheme of the Indian
    Limitation Act is that it only deals with
    applications to courts, and that the Labour
    Court is not a court within the Indian
    Limitation Act, 1963.”
  35. Another three­Judge Bench of this Court had occasion
    to consider the provisions of U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948
    and the Limitation Act, 1963, in The Commissioner of
    Sales Tax Act, 1948, U.P. Lucknow vs. M/s. Parson Tools
    and Plants, Kanpur, (1975) 4 SCC 22. The question which
    came for consideration in the above case has been noted
    in paragraph 1 which is to the following effect:
    “1. The common question of law for
    determination in these appeals by special leave
    is: Whether Section 14(2) of the Limitation
    Act, in terms, or, in principle, can be invoked
    for excluding the time spent in prosecuting an
    application under Rule 68(6) of the U.P. Sales
    Tax Rules for setting aside the order of
    dismissal of appeal in default, under the U.P.
    Sales Tax Act, 1948 (for short, “the Sales Tax
    Act”) from computation of the period of
    limitation for filing a revision under that
    Act?”
  36. The assessee’s appeals against assessment order were
    dismissed in default on 10.05.1963. The assessee made
    applications for setting aside the dismissal order.
    28
    Revision Petitions under Section 10 of the Sales Tax Act
    were filed more than 18 months after the dismissal of the
    appeal. Assessee prayed for exclusion of time spent by
    him in prosecuting proceedings for setting aside the
    dismissal of appeals in default. The revisional authority
    excluded the time spent by applying Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act. The Commissioner made a reference to the
    High Court as to “Whether under the circumstances of the
    case, Section 14 of the Limitation Act extended the
    period for filing of the revisions by the time during
    which the restoration applications remained pending as
    being prosecuted bona fide”. The High Court answered the
    reference in affirmative which judgment was questioned
    before this Court. Three­Judge Bench held that the
    appellate authority and the Judge (Revisions) Sales­tax
    exercising jurisdiction under the Sales­tax Act are not
    courts and hence, Section 14 of the Limitation Act does
    not apply. Following was laid down by this Court in
    paragraphs 9 and 24:
    “9……………In view of these pronouncements of
    this Court, there is no room for argument that
    the Appellate Authority and the Judge
    (Revisions) Sales tax exercising jurisdiction
    under the Sales Tax Act, are “courts”. They are
    merely Administrative Tribunals and “not
    29
    courts”. Section 14, Limitation Act, therefore,
    does not, in terms apply to proceedings before
    such tribunals………”
  37. For all the reasons aforesaid, we are of
    the opinion that the object, the scheme and
    language of Section 10 of the Sales Tax Act do
    not permit the invocation of Section 14(2) of
    the Limitation Act, either in terms, or in
    principle, for excluding the time spent in
    prosecuting proceedings for setting aside the
    dismissal of appeals in default, from
    computation of the period of limitation
    prescribed for filing a revision under the
    Sales Tax Act. Accordingly, we answer the
    question referred, in the negative.”
  38. In The Kerala State Electricity Board, Trivandrum
    vs. T.P. Kunhaliumma, (1976) 4 SCC 634, this Court had
    occasion to consider applicability of Article 137 of
    Limitation Act, application filed under Section 16 of the
    Telegraphs Act, 1885. This Court in the above case
    differing with the view taken by the two­Judge Bench in
    Athani’s case held that application under Article 137 of
    Limitation Act is not confined to application
    contemplated by or under the C.P.C. However, the
    application contemplated under Telegraphs Act has to be
    an application to a Court. In paragraphs 18 and 22
    following has been laid held:
    30
    “18. The alteration of the division as well as
    the change in the collocation of words in
    Article 137 of the Limitation Act, 1963
    compared with Article 181 of the 1908
    Limitation Act shows that applications
    contemplated under Article 137 are not
    applications confined to the Code of Civil
    Procedure. In the 1908 Limitation Act there was
    no division between applications in specified
    cases and other applications as in the 1963
    Limitation Act. The words “any other
    application” under Article 137 cannot be said
    on the principle of ejusdem generis to be
    applications under the Civil Procedure Code
    other than those mentioned in Part I of the
    third division. Any other application under
    Article 137 would be petition or any
    application under any Act. But it has to be an
    application to a court for the reason that
    Sections 4 and 5 of the 1963 Limitation Act
    speak of expiry of prescribed period when court
    is closed and extension of prescribed period if
    applicant or the appellant satisfies the court
    that he had sufficient cause for not preferring
    the appeal or making the application during
    such period.
  39. The conclusion we reach is that Article
    137 of the 1963 Limitation Act will apply to
    any petition or application filed under any Act
    to a civil court. With respect we differ from
    the view taken by the two­judge bench of this
    Court in Athani Municipal Council case and hold
    that Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation Act is
    not confined to applications contemplated by or
    under the Code of Civil Procedure. The petition
    in the present case was to the District Judge
    as a court. The petition was one contemplated
    by the Telegraph Act for judicial decision. The
    petition is an application falling within the
    scope of Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation
    Act.”
    31
  40. In the above case since the application under the
    Telegraphs Act was filed before the Court, this Court
    held that Article 137 of the Limitation Act was
    applicable. It is to be noticed that in the above
    mentioned cases this Court held that applications
    contemplated under Limitation Act are applications to a
    Court but in the above cases the Court did not refer to
    Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act.
  41. A two­Judge Bench judgment of this Court in Sakuru
    vs. Tanaji, 1985(3) SCC 590, needs to be noticed. In the
    above case the question was as to whether delay in filing
    appeal before Court under Section 19 is condonable under
    Section 5 of Limitation Act, 1963. This Court held that
    the provisions of Limitation Act, 1963 apply only to
    proceedings in ‘courts’ and not to appeals or
    applications before bodies other than courts such as
    quasi­judicial tribunals or executive authorities,
    notwithstanding the fact that such bodies or authorities
    may be vested with certain specified powers conferred on
    courts under the Codes of Civil or Criminal Procedure. In
    paragraph 3 following has been laid down:
    32
    “3. After hearing both sides we have
    unhesitatingly come to the conclusion that
    there is no substance in this appeal and that
    the view taken by the Division Bench in
    Venkaiah case1 is perfectly correct and sound.
    It is well settled by the decisions of this
    Court in town Municipal Council v. Presiding
    Officer, Labour Court, Nityananda M. Joshi v.
    Life Insurance Corporation of India and
    Sushila Devi v. Ramanandan Prasad that the
    provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 apply
    only to proceedings in “courts” and not to
    appeals or applications before bodies other
    than courts such as quasi­judicial tribunals or
    executive authorities, notwithstanding the fact
    that such bodies or authorities may be vested
    with certain specified powers conferred on
    courts under the Codes of Civil or Criminal
    Procedure. The Collector before whom the appeal
    was preferred by the appellant herein under
    Section 90 of the Act not being a court, the
    Limitation Act, as such, had no applicability
    to the proceedings before him…………”.
  42. This Court, however, further held that relevant
    special statute may contain an express provision
    conferring on the appellate authority, such as the
    Collector, to extend the prescribed period of limitation
    which needs to be examined looking to the scheme of the
    special statute. Section 93 of the Act was a provision
    pertaining to the applicability of the Limitation Act.
    Referring to the said provision this Court held that 1958
    Act does not indicate that Section 5 of the Limitation
    33
    Act is applicable. Following was further laid down in
    paragraph 3:
    “3…………But even in such a situation the
    relevant special statute may contain an express
    provision conferring on the Appellate
    Authority, such as the Collector, the power to
    extend the prescribed period of limitation on
    sufficient cause being shown by laying down
    that the provisions of Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act shall be applicable to such
    proceedings. Hence it becomes necessary to
    examine whether the Act contains any such
    provision entitling the Collector to invoke the
    provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act
    for condonation of the delay in the filing of
    the appeal. The only provision relied on by the
    appellant in this connection is Section 93 of
    the Act which, as it stood at the relevant
    time, was in the following terms:
  43. Limitations.—Every appeal and
    every application for revision under
    this Act shall be filed within sixty
    days from the date of the order
    against which the appeal or
    application is filed and the
    provisions of the Indian Limitation
    Act, 1908 shall apply for the purpose
    of the computation of the said period.
    On a plain reading of the section it is
    absolutely clear that its effect is only to
    render applicable to the proceedings before the
    Collector, the provisions of the Limitation Act
    relating to “computation of the period of
    limitation”. The provisions relating to
    computation of the period of limitation are
    contained in Sections 12 to 24 included in Part
    III of the Limitation Act, 1963. Section 5 is
    not a provision dealing with “computation of
    the period of limitation”. It is only after the
    process of computation is completed and it is
    34
    found that an appeal or application has been
    filed after the expiry of the prescribed period
    that the question of extension of the period
    under Section 5 can arise. We are, therefore,
    in complete agreement with the view expressed
    by the Division Bench of the High Court in
    Venkaiah case1 that Section 93 of the Act did
    not have the effect of rendering the provisions
    of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963
    applicable to the proceedings before the
    Collector.”
  44. This Court in Officer on Special Duty (Land
    Acquisition) and another vs. Shah Manilal Chandulal and
    others, (1996) 9 SCC 414, the Land Acquisition Officer
    has rejected the application for reference under Section
    18 on the ground that it was barred by limitation. A writ
    petition was filed contending that provision of Section 5
    of the Limitation Act applies to the proceedings before
    the Collector. The High Court accepted the argument and
    condoned the delay against which judgment appeal was
    filed before this Court. This Court held that Section 5
    of the Limitation Act cannot be applied for extension of
    the period of limitation prescribed under proviso to subsection (2) of Section 18. Following was held in
    paragraph 18:
    “18. Though hard it may be, in view of the
    specific limitation provided under proviso to
    Section 18(2) of the Act, we are of the
    35
    considered view that sub­section (2) of Section
    29 cannot be applied to the proviso to subsection (2) of Section 18. The Collector/LAO,
    therefore, is not a court when he acts as a
    statutory authority under Section 18(1).
    Therefore, Section 5 of the Limitation Act
    cannot be applied for extension of the period
    of limitation prescribed under proviso to subsection (2) of Section 18. The High Court,
    therefore, was not right in its finding that
    the Collector is a court under Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act.”
  45. Another judgment which needs to be noticed is
    Consolidated Engineering Enterprises vs. Principal
    Secretary, Irrigation Department and others, (2008) 7 SCC
  46. The question which was posed, in the above case, for
    consideration before this Court has been mentioned in
    paragraph 18 which is to the following effect:
    “18. The question posed for consideration
    before the Court is whether the provision of
    Section 14 of the Limitation Act would be
    applicable to an application submitted under
    Section 34 of the Act of 1996 for setting aside
    the award made by the arbitrator………”
  47. The provision of sub­section (3) of Section 34 has
    been noticed in paragraph 19 which is to the following
    effect:
    “19. A bare reading of sub­section (3) of
    Section 34 read with the proviso makes it
    36
    abundantly clear that the application for
    setting aside the award on the grounds
    mentioned in sub­section (2) of Section 34 will
    have to be made within three months. The period
    can further be extended, on sufficient cause
    being shown, by another period of 30 days but
    not thereafter. It means that as far as
    application for setting aside the award is
    concerned, the period of limitation prescribed
    is three months which can be extended by
    another period of 30 days, on sufficient cause
    being shown to the satisfaction of the court.”
  48. Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act as well as
    Section 34 of the Arbitration Act was referred to. This
    Court after noticing the provisions of Section 34 opined
    that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is excluded. In
    paragraph 20 following has been laid down:
    “20. Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act
    inter alia provides that where any special or
    local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or
    application a period of limitation different
    from the period of limitation prescribed by the
    Schedule, the provisions of Section 3 shall
    apply as if such period was the period
    prescribed by the Schedule and for the purpose
    of determining any period of limitation
    prescribed for any suit, appeal or application
    by any special or local law, the provisions
    contained in Sections 4 to 24 shall apply only
    insofar as, and to the extent, they are not
    expressly excluded by such special or local
    law. When any special statute prescribes
    certain period of limitation as well as
    provision for extension up to specified timelimit, on sufficient cause being shown, then
    the period of limitation prescribed under the
    37
    special law shall prevail and to that extent
    the provisions of the Limitation Act shall
    stand excluded. As the intention of the
    legislature in enacting sub­section (3) of
    Section 34 of the Act is that the application
    for setting aside the award should be made
    within three months and the period can be
    further extended on sufficient cause being
    shown by another period of 30 days but not
    thereafter, this Court is of the opinion that
    the provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act would not be applicable because the
    applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act stands excluded because of the provisions
    of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act.
    However, merely because it is held that Section
    5 of the Limitation Act is not applicable to an
    application filed under Section 34 of the Act
    for setting aside an award, one need not
    conclude that provisions of Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act would also not be applicable to
    an application submitted under Section 34 of
    the Act of 1996.”
  49. The three­Judge Bench noticed earlier judgment of
    this Court in CST v. Parson Tools and Plants. The threeJudge Bench held that proceedings initiated for setting
    aside the arbitral award are not “courts” and three­Judge
    Bench held that in CST v. Parson Tools and Plants the
    appellate authority and the revisional court were not the
    courts hence this case was distinguished. Following was
    laid down in paragraph 26:
    “26. From the judgment of the Supreme Court
    in CST, (1975) 2 SCC 22, it is evident that
    38
    essentially what weighed with the Court in
    holding that Section 14 of the Limitation Act
    was not applicable, was that the appellate
    authority and the revisional authority were not
    “courts”. The stark features of the revisional
    powers pointed out by the Court, showed that
    the legislature had deliberately excluded the
    application of the principles underlying
    Sections 5 and 14 of the Limitation Act. Here
    in this case, the Court is not called upon to
    examine scope of revisional powers. The Court
    in this case is dealing with Section 34 of the
    Act which confers powers on the court of the
    first instance to set aside an award rendered
    by an arbitrator on specified grounds. It is
    not the case of the contractor that the forums
    before which the Government of India
    undertaking had initiated proceedings for
    setting aside the arbitral award are not
    “courts”. In view of these glaring
    distinguishing features, this Court is of the
    opinion that the decision rendered in CST did
    not decide the issue which falls for
    consideration of this Court and, therefore, the
    said decision cannot be construed to mean that
    the provisions of Section 14 of the Limitation
    Act are not applicable to an application
    submitted under Section 34 of the Act of 1996.”
  50. Three­Judge Bench held that Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act was applicable to application filed under
    Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, 1996. R.V. Raveendran,
    J. in his concurring opinion has held that Sections 3 and
    29(2) of the Limitation Act will not apply to proceedings
    before the tribunal, to appeals or applications before
    39
    the tribunals, unless expressly provided. In paragraph 44
    following was laid down:
    “44. It may be noticed at this juncture that
    the Schedule to the Limitation Act prescribes
    the period of limitation only to proceedings in
    courts and not to any proceeding before a
    tribunal or quasi­judicial authority.
    Consequently Sections 3 and 29(2) of the
    Limitation Act will not apply to proceedings
    before the tribunal. This means that the
    Limitation Act will not apply to appeals or
    applications before the tribunals, unless
    expressly provided.”
  51. The most elaborate judgment holding that the
    Limitation Act applies only to courts and not to the
    tribunals is the judgment of this Court in M.P. Steel
    Corporation vs. Commissioner of Central Excise, 2015(7)
    SCC 58, Rohinton Fali Nariman, J. speaking for the Court
    reviewed all earlier judgments of two­Judge and threeJudge Benches of this Court. In paragraphs 11 to 35 all
    earlier judgments have been considered. In the above case
    Commissioner of Customs(Appeals) dismissed the appeal
    filed by the appellant on the ground that appeal is
    barred by time and the Commissioner(Appeals) had no power
    to condone delay beyond the period specified in Section
    128 of the Customs Act. In the above case, benefit of
    40
    Section 14 of the Limitation Act was sought. It was
    contended before this Court that while Section 2 of the
    Limitation Act, Section 14 of the Limitation Act was also
    applied to criminal, special or local law. This Court
    noticed the ingredients of applicability of Section 14.
    Two­Judge Bench has held that relying on earlier
    judgments of this Court that provisions of the Limitation
    Act are applicable only to suits, appeals and
    applications filed in Courts. Section 29(2) was also
    considered by this Court and following was laid down in
    paragraph 33:
    “33……Section 29(2) states:
    “29. Savings.—(1) * * *
    (2) Where any special or local law
    prescribes for any suit, appeal or
    application a period of limitation different
    from the period prescribed by the Schedule,
    the provisions of Section 3 shall apply as if
    such period were the period prescribed by the
    Schedule and for the purpose of determining
    any period of limitation prescribed for any
    suit, appeal or application by any special or
    local law, the provisions contained in
    Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) shall apply only
    insofar as, and to the extent to which, they
    are not expressly excluded by such special or
    local law.”
    A bare reading of this section would show that
    the special or local law described therein
    should prescribe for any suit, appeal or
    application a period of limitation different
    41
    from the period prescribed by the Schedule.
    This would necessarily mean that such special
    or local law would have to lay down that the
    suit, appeal or application to be instituted
    under it should be a suit, appeal or
    application of the nature described in the
    Schedule. We have already held that such
    suits, appeals or applications as are referred
    to in the Schedule are only to courts and not
    to quasi­judicial bodies or tribunals. It is
    clear, therefore, that only when a suit, appeal
    or application of the description in the
    Schedule is to be filed in a court under a
    special or local law that the provision gets
    attracted. This is made even clearer by a
    reading of Section 29(3). Section 29(3) states:
    “29. Savings.—(1)­(2) * * *
    (3) Save as otherwise provided in any law
    for the time being in force with respect to
    marriage and divorce, nothing in this Act
    shall apply to any suit or other proceeding
    under any such law.”
    When it comes to the law of marriage and
    divorce, the section speaks not only of suits
    but other proceedings as well. Such proceedings
    may be proceedings which are neither appeals
    nor applications thus making it clear that the
    laws relating to marriage and divorce, unlike
    the law of limitation, may contain proceedings
    other than suits, appeals or applications filed
    in courts. This again is an important pointer
    to the fact that the entirety of the Limitation
    Act including Section 29(2) would apply only to
    the three kinds of proceedings mentioned all of
    which are to be filed in courts.”
  52. Two­Judge Bench, however, held that provisions of
    Section 14 would certainly apply. We in the present case
    42
    are concerned only with applicability of Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act.
  53. Now, we come to the second set of cases which cases
    have applied provisions of Limitation Act on special and
    local law. A three­Judge Bench judgment in The
    Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. vs. M/s. Madan Lal Das &
    Sons, Bareilly, (1976) 4 SCC 464, has been relied by the
    counsel for the respondents. In the above case an appeal
    relating to assessment year 1960­61 was decided by the
    appellate authority. The copy of the appellate order was
    served on the dealer on 02.08.1965. The dealer lost the
    copy of the appellate order and on 15.06.1966 made an
    application for obtaining another copy of the order which
    was ready on 17.08.1967. Revision under Section 10 of the
    U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 was filed by the dealer before
    the Judge(Revision) Sales Tax on 09.09.1967. The dealer
    claimed that the time taken in obtaining certified copy
    needs to be excluded under Section 12(2) of the
    Limitation Act, 1963. The Judge(Revision) accepted the
    contention and decided revision on merits. At the
    instance of the Commissioner of Sales Tax a question was
    referred to the High Court as to whether the time taken
    43
    by the dealer in obtaining another copy of the appellate
    order could be excluded for the purpose of limitation for
    filing revision under Section 10(1) of the Act, 1948. The
    High Court answered the question in favour of the dealer
    and against the Revenue.
  54. The Commissioner of Sales Tax filed an appeal in
    this Court questioning the judgment of the High Court. It
    was contended before this Court that U.P. Sales Tax Act
    constitutes a complete court in itself and the High Court
    committed an error in relying on Section 12(2) of the
    Limitation Act, 1963. In paragraph 4 of the judgment
    following was laid down:
    “4. There can be no manner of doubt that the
    U.P. Sales Tax Act answers to the description
    of a special or local law. According to subsection (2) of Section 29 of the Limitation
    Act, reproduced above, for the purpose of
    determining any period of limitation prescribed
    for any application by any special or local
    law, the provisions contained in Section 12(2),
    inter alia, shall apply insofar as and to the
    extent to which they are not expressly excluded
    by such special or local law. There is nothing
    in the U.P. Sales Tax Act expressly excluding
    the application of Section 12(2) of the
    Limitation Act for determining the period of
    limitation prescribed for revision application.
    The conclusion would, therefore, follow that
    the provisions of Section 12(2) of the
    Limitation Act of 1963 can be relied upon in
    computing the period of limitation prescribed
    44
    for filing a revision petition under Section 10
    of the U.P. Sales Tax Act.”
  55. This Court held that Section 12(2) of the Limitation
    Act can be relied upon in computing the period of
    limitation prescribed for filing the revision. The
    Judge(Revision) before whom revision is filed is not a
    Court, it is clear from the scheme of the U.P. Sales Tax
    Act, 1948. Section 10 under which revision is filed
    provides for Revising Authority. Section 10(1) provides
    for appointment of Revising Authority which is as
    follows:
    “Section 10. Power of revision.­(1) The
    State Government shall appoint as Revising
    Authority a person qualified under clause
    (2) of Article 217 of the Constitution for
    appointment as Judge of a High Court.”
  56. The above provision makes it clear that revision is
    to be filed before a Revising Authority created under
    Act, 1948 and is not a Court. We have already noticed
    above that a three­Judge Bench of this Court in The
    Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. Lucknow vs. M/s. Parson
    Tools and Plants, Kanpur (supra) had considered the
    question of applicability of Limitation Act, 1963 before
    Revision Authority under U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948. This
    45
    Court in paragraph 9 of the judgment has categorically
    held that Judge(Revisions) Sales Tax exercising
    jurisdiction under Section 10 are not courts but mere
    administrative tribunals. In CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Parson
    Tools and Plants, the question was with regard to
    applicability of Section 14 of the Limitation Act. The
    three­Judge Bench categorically held that the
    Judge(Revision) being not a Court, Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act does not apply to the proceedings before
    such tribunal. Before three­Judge Bench which heard CST,
    U.P. vs. M/s. Madan Lal Das & Sons(supra) unfortunately
    the earlier judgment of equal strength i.e. three­Judge
    Bench in CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Parson Tools and Plants was
    not cited. CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Parson Tools and Plants
    was judgment was on the same issue i.e. applicability of
    the Limitation Act in reference to Judge(Revision)
    exercising the jurisdiction under the U.P. Sales Tax Act,
    CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Parson Tools and Plants(supra) has
    held that Limitation Act is not applicable to such
    authority. Thus, three­Judge judgment was neither noticed
    and a contrary view was expressed in CST, U.P. vs. M/s.
    Madan Lal Das & Sons. We have also noticed that there has
    46
    also been earlier three­Judge Bench judgment in
    Nityananda, M. Joshi and others. vs. Life Insurance
    Corporation of India and others(supra) where it was held
    that Limitation Act applies only to suits, applications
    and appeals filed in Courts. The judgment of this Court
    in CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Madan Lal Das & Sons having not
    referred to earlier judgments of equal strength, we are
    persuaded to follow the earlier three­Judge Bench
    judgment of this Court in CST, U.P. vs. M/s. Parson Tools
    and Plants.
  57. The judgment on which reliance has been placed by
    the learned counsel for the respondent is Mukri Gopalan
    vs. Cheppilat Puthanpurayil Aboobacker, (1995) 5 SCC 5.
    In the above case, question for consideration was as to
    whether the appellate authority under Section 18 of
    Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 has
    power to condone the delay in filing appeal. The issue
    which has been noticed in paragraph 1 is to the following
    effect:
    “1. In this appeal by special leave a short
    but an interesting question falls for
    determination. It is to the effect “whether the
    appellate authority constituted under Section
    18 of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent
    47
    Control) Act, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as
    the ‘Rent Act’) has power to condone the delay
    in the filing of appeal before it under the
    said section”. Majority of the Kerala High
    Court in the case of Jokkim Fernandez v. Amina
    Kunhi Umma, AIR 1974 Ker 162, has taken the
    view that the appellate authority has no such
    power. Following the said decision a Division
    Bench of the Kerala High Court by its judgment
    and order under appeal has dismissed the
    revision application moved by the appellant
    herein whose appeal before the appellate
    authority was dismissed as time barred and the
    application for condonation of delay was
    treated to be not maintainable before the
    appellate authority.”
  58. One fact which is to be noticed is that appellate
    authority under the above Act was District Judge. The
    notification issued by the State Government conferring on
    the District Judge power of the appellate authority has
    been noticed and extracted in paragraph 5 of the
    judgment. Relevant part of paragraph No.5 is as follows:
    “5. …………………………At this stage it will be
    useful to note that the Government of Kerala in
    exercise of its power under Section 18(1) has
    issued a notification conferring on District
    Judges the powers of appellate authority for
    the purpose of Kerala Rent Act. The said
    notification reads as under:
    “Buildings (Lease & Rent Control) Act, 1965­
    Noti. under Section 18(1) conferring on
    District Judges powers of appellate
    authorities
    (Published in Kerala Gazette No. 38 dated
    26th September, 1989 : SRO :1631 of 1989)
    48
    NOTIFICATION
    S.R.O. No. 1631 of 1989 In exercise of the
    powers conferred by clause (a) of sub­section
    (1) of Section 18 of the Kerala Buildings
    (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 (2 of 1965)
    and in supersession of all previous
    notifications on the subject, the Government of
    Kerala hereby confers on the District Judges
    having jurisdiction over the areas within which
    the provisions of the said Act have been
    extended, the powers of the appellate
    authorities for the purposes of the said Act,
    in the said areas.”
  59. This Court in the above case held that appellate
    authority was not “persona designata”. This Court in
    paragraph 8 held that the appellate authority who was
    District Judge would be court and not persona designata.
    Following was observed in paragraph 8:
    “8…………When the aforesaid well settled tests for
    deciding whether an authority is a court or not
    are applied to the powers and functions of the
    appellate authority constituted under Section
    18 of the Rent Act, it becomes obvious that all
    the aforesaid essential trappings to constitute
    such an authority as a court are found to be
    present. In fact, Mr Nariman, learned counsel
    for respondent also fairly stated that these
    appellate authorities would be courts and would
    not be persona designata…………”
  60. Section 29(2) was also considered. This Court
    further held that Section 29(2) will get attracted to
    appeals filed before appellate authority under Section 18
    49
    of the Rent Act. In paragraphs 11 and 15 following has
    been laid down:
    “11. It is also obvious that once the aforesaid
    two conditions are satisfied Section 29(2) on
    its own force will get attracted to appeals
    filed before appellate authority under Section
    18 of the Rent Act. When Section 29(2) applies
    to appeals under Section 18 of the Rent Act,
    for computing the period of limitation
    prescribed for appeals under that Section, all
    the provisions of Sections 4 to 24 of the
    Limitation Act would apply. Section 5 being one
    of them would therefore get attracted. It is
    also obvious that there is no express exclusion
    anywhere in the Rent Act taking out the
    applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act to appeals filed before appellate authority
    under Section 18 of the Act. Consequently, all
    the legal requirements for applicability of
    Section 5 of the Limitation Act to such appeals
    in the light of Section 29(2) of Limitation Act
    can be said to have been satisfied. That was
    the view taken by the minority decision of the
    learned Single Judge of Kerala High Court in
    Jokkim Fernandez v. Amina Kunhi Umma. The
    majority did not agree on account of its wrong
    supposition that appellate authority
    functioning under Section 18 of the Rent Act is
    a persona designata. Once that presumption is
    found to be erroneous as discussed by us
    earlier, it becomes at once clear that minority
    view in the said decision was the correct view
    and the majority view was an erroneous view.”
  61. After repealing of Indian Limitation
    Act, 1908 and its replacement by the present
    Limitation Act of 1963 a fundamental change was
    made in Section 29(2). The present Section
    29(2) as already extracted earlier clearly
    indicates that once the requisite conditions
    50
    for its applicability to given proceedings
    under special or local law are attracted, the
    provisions contained in Sections 4 to 24 both
    inclusive would get attracted which obviously
    would bring in Section 5 which also shall apply
    to such proceedings unless applicability of any
    of the aforesaid sections of the Limitation Act
    is expressly excluded by such special or local
    law. By this change it is not necessary to
    expressly state in a special law that the
    provisions contained in Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act shall apply to the determination
    of the periods under it. By the general
    provision contained in Section 29(2) this
    provision is made applicable to the periods
    prescribed under the special laws. An express
    mention in the special law is necessary only
    for any exclusion. It is on this basis that
    when the new Rent Act was passed in 1965 the
    provision contained in old Section 31 was
    omitted. It becomes therefore apparent that on
    a conjoint reading of Section 29(2) of
    Limitation Act of 1963 and Section 18 of the
    Rent Act of 1965, provisions of Section 5 would
    automatically get attracted to those
    proceedings, as there is nothing in the Rent
    Act of 1965 expressly excluding the
    applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation
    Act to appeals under Section 18 of the Rent
    Act.”
  62. This Court in the above case held that Section 5 was
    attracted in appeal which was to be heard by the
    appellate authority. It is, further, relevant to notice
    that in M.P. Steel Corporation (supra), Mukri Gopalan has
    been referred to and has been held to be no longer good
    law in view of the earlier three­Judge judgments of this
    51
    Court. Dealing with Mukri Gopalan’s case two­Judge Bench
    in M.P. Steel Corporation had held following in paragraph
    29 :
    “29. Quite apart from Mukri Gopalan case
    being out of step with at least five earlier
    binding judgments of this Court, it does not
    square also with the subsequent judgment in
    Consolidated Engg. Enterprises v. Irrigation
    Deptt. A three­Judge Bench of this Court was
    asked to decide whether Section 14 of the
    Limitation Act would apply to Section 34(3) of
    the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
    After discussing the various provisions of the
    Arbitration Act and the Limitation Act, this
    Court held:…………”
  63. Obviously, the ratio of Mukri Gopalan
    does not square with the observations of the
    three­Judge Bench in Consolidated Engg.
    Enterprises. In the latter case, this Court has
    unequivocally held that Parson Tools is an
    authority for the proposition that the
    Limitation Act will not apply to quasi­judicial
    bodies or tribunals. To the extent that Mukri
    Gopalan is in conflict with the judgment in
    Consolidated Engg. Enterprises case, it is no
    longer good law.”
  64. Learned counsel for the respondent relied on threeJudge Bench judgment of this Court in State of Madhya
    Pradesh and another vs. Anshuman Shukla, (2014) 10 SCC
  65. In the above case this Court was examining as to
    whether delay in filing revision before the High Court
    under M.P. Madhyastham Adhikaran Adhiniyam, 1983 was
    52
    condonable applying Section 5 of the Limitation Act,
    Section 29(2) as well as Mukri Gopalan case was referred
    to by three­Judge Bench. In paragraph 20 following was
    laid down:
    “20. Section 19 of the Act confers the power of
    revision on the High Court. It provides that
    the aggrieved party may make an application for
    revision before the High Court within three
    months of the date of the award. This section
    was amended in 2005, to confer the power on the
    High Court to condone the delay. Since this
    dispute pertains prior to 2005, thus, the
    provision of the unamended Act shall apply in
    the present case.”
  66. After considering the legislative scheme of Act,
    1983 following was laid down in paragraph 32 and 33:
    “32. Section 19 of the 1983 Act does not
    contain any express rider on the power of the
    High Court to entertain an application for
    revision after the expiry of the prescribed
    period of three months. On the contrary, the
    High Court is conferred with suo motu power, to
    call for the record of an award at any time. It
    cannot, therefore, be said that the legislative
    intent was to exclude the applicability of
    Section 5 of the Limitation Act to Section 19
    of the 1983 Act.
  67. In our opinion, it is unnecessary to
    delve into the question whether the Arbitral
    Tribunal constituted under the Act is a court
    or not for answering the issue in the present
    case as the delay in filing the revision has
    occurred before the High Court, and not the
    Arbitral Tribunal.”
    53
  68. It is relevant to notice that this Court from the
    scheme of Act, 1983, itself found that legislative intent
    was not to exclude the applicability of Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act. There cannot be any dispute to the
    proposition that if the legislative scheme of special or
    local law indicate that enactment intended applicability
    of Section 5. Section 5 shall be applicable independent
    with operation of Section 29(2). However, in paragraph
    33, the Court did not delve into the question as to
    whether Arbitral Tribunal is a court or not. Due to a
    reason that revision was filed before the High Court and
    there cannot be any issue as to the High Court is not a
    Court, thus, when revision application was filed before a
    Court Section 29(2) was clearly attracted applying
    Section 5 of the Limitation Act. The said judgment cannot
    be said to be authority for the proposition that in
    appeals filed before statutory authorities which are not
    Court, Section 5 of the Limitation act shall be
    attracted. Another judgement relied by the respondent is
    Syed Zalil Akhtar vs. Zila Sahkari Krishi Avam Gramn
    Vikas Bank, Mydt., (2016) 12 SCC 365. This Court in the
    54
    above case was considering the power of condonation of
    delay in filing appeal under Section 55(2) of M.P.
    Cooperative Societies Act, 1960. The High Court has
    upheld the decision of the M.P. State Cooperative
    Tribunal, appellant’s application filed under Section
    55(2) was belated and since there being no provision for
    condoning the delay in filing of the appeal and Section 5
    of the Limitation Act was also not applicable. Two­Judge
    Bench has referred to Mukri Gopalan (supra). Relying on
    Mukri Gopalan and Anshuman Shukla, two­Judge Bench held
    that Section 5 of the Limitation Act would be applicable.
    In paragraphs 11 and 12 following has been held:
    “11. Having noted the said view expressed in
    para 34, as compared to a detailed analysis
    made in the earlier decision of this Court made
    in Mukri Gopalan case we are of the considered
    view that in the light of the subsequent larger
    Bench decision of this Court in Anshuman
    Shukla case which has given its seal of
    approval to the decision in Mukri Gopalan case,
    the latter decision can be followed in all
    respects and the one held in Noharlal Verma
    case cannot be said to be good law.
  69. Therefore, applying the law thus laid
    down by this Court in Mukri Gopalan case and
    Anshuman Shukla case we are convinced that
    Section 5 of the Limitation Act would apply in
    all force to the case on hand and consequently
    when we consider the extent of delay involved,
    we find that the last date for filing the
    application was 8­9­1995, application was
    presented on 11­9­1995, in between two days,
    55
    namely, 9­9­1995 and 10­9­1995 were second
    Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, it must be held
    that there was every justification and
    sufficient cause for the appellant in his claim
    for condoning the said two days in filing the
    application before the original authority.
    Consequently, we ourselves hereby condone the
    said delay of two days and since the Tribunal
    by its order dated 18­3­2009 merely dismissed
    the appeals of the appellant as well as that of
    the respondent on the sole ground of delay
    caused by the appellant in preferring the
    original application, the said order cannot be
    sustained.”
  70. We have already noticed that Mukri Gopalan was held
    to be not a good law by this Court in M.P. Steel on the
    ground that it has not noticed earlier three­Judge Bench
    judgments and also in view of the subsequent three­Judge
    Bench judgment, the said case is not a good law. As far
    as Anshuman Shukla’s case is concerned we have already
    noticed the issue, in the said case, of applicability of
    Section 5 of Limitation Act in the revision filed in the
    High Court, High Court being a Court, Limitation Act was
    fully applicable and the said judgment does not support
    the proposition that in application before not a Court,
    Section 5 shall automatically be applicable.
    56
  71. The ratio which can be culled from above noted
    judgments, especially judgment of three­Judge Benches, as
    noted above, is as follows:
    (1) The suits, appeals and applications referred to
    in the Limitation Act, 1963 are suits, appeals
    and applications which are to be filed in a
    Court.
    (2) The suits, appeals and applications referred to
    in the Limitation Act are not the suits,
    appeals and applications which are to be filed
    before a statutory authority like Commissioner
    under Act, 1959.
    (3) Operation of Section 29(2) of the Limitation
    Act is confined to the suits, appeals and
    applications referred to in a special or local
    law to be filed in Court and not before
    statutory authorities like Commissioner under
    Act, 1959.
    (4) However, special or local law vide statutory
    scheme can make applicable any provision of the
    Limitation Act or exclude applicability of any
    provision of Limitation Act which can be decided
    57
    only after looking into the scheme of
    particular, special or local law.
  72. We, thus, answer question Nos.2 and 3 in the
    following manner:
    (i) The applicability of Section 29(2) of the
    Limitation Act is with regard to different
    limitations prescribed for any suit,
    appeal or application when to be filed in
    a Court.
    (ii) Section 29(2) cannot be pressed in service
    with regard to filing of suits, appeals
    and applications before the statutory
    authorities and tribunals provided in a
    special or local law. The Commissioner
    while hearing of the appeal under Section
    69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to
    condone the delay in filing appeal, since,
    provision of Section 5 shall not be
    attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of
    the Act.
    58
    Question No.4
  73. A special or local law can very well provide for
    applicability of any provision of Limitation Act or
    exclude applicability of any provision of Limitation Act.
    The provisions of Limitation Act including Section 5 can
    very well be applied in deciding an appeal by statutory
    authority which is not a Court by the statutory scheme of
    special or local law. We, thus, need to notice the
    provisions of Act, 1959 as to whether the scheme under
    Act, 1959 shows that enactment intended to apply Section
    5 of the Limitation Act.
  74. Section 110 provides for procedure and powers at
    inquiries under Chapters V and VI. The Commissioner hears
    appeals under Section 69 which is under Chapter V of the
    Act. Section 110 of the Act is as follows:
    “Section 110. Procedure and powers at inquiries
    under Chapters V and VI.­ (1) Where a
    Commissioner or a Joint Commissioner or a
    Deputy Commissioner makes an inquiry or hears
    an appeal under Chapter V or Chapter VI, the
    inquiry shall be made and the appeal shall be
    heard, as nearly as may be, in accordance with
    the procedure applicable under the Code of
    Civil Procedure, 1908 (Central Act V of 1908)
    to the trial of suits or the hearing of
    appeals, as the case may be.
    59
    (2) The provisions of the Indian Evidence
    Act, 1872(Central Act I of 1872) and the Indian
    Oaths Act, 1873 (Central Act X of 1873), shall
    apply to such inquiries and appeals.
    (3) The Commissioner 1[or a Joint
    Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner] holding
    such inquiry or hearing such an appeal shall be
    deemed to be a person acting judicially within
    the meaning of the Judicial Officers Protection
    Act, 1850 (Central Act XVIII of 1850).”
  75. The mere fact that a statutory authority is
    empowered to follow the procedure as nearly may be in
    accordance with procedure under C.P.C. to the trial of
    suits or hearing of appeals, the statutory authority
    shall not become a Court. There is nothing under Section
    110 which indicates that Limitation Act is also made
    applicable in hearing of the appeal.
  76. Section 115 deals with limitation. It only provides
    that in computing the period of limitation prescribed
    under Act, 1959 for any proceeding, suit, appeal or
    application for revision against any order or decree
    passed under this Act, the time requisite for obtaining a
    certified copy of such order or decree shall be excluded.
  77. The provision of Section 69 of Act, 1959 also
    indicates that Legislature never contemplated
    applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act in
    60
    proceedings before Commissioner. Section 69(2) noted
    above provides that any order passed by the Joint
    Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner, as the case may,
    in respect of which no appeal has been preferred within
    the period specified in sub­section (1) may be revised by
    the Commissioner suo motu and the Commissioner may call
    for and examine the records of the proceedings to satisfy
    himself as to the regularity of such proceedings or the
    correctness, legality or propriety of any decision or
    order passed by the Joint Commissioner or the Deputy
    Commissioner, as the case may be.
  78. Thus, Section 69(2) gives suo motu power to the
    Commissioner to call for and examine the records of the
    proceedings of Joint Commissioner or the Deputy
    Commissioner in respect of which no appeal has been
    preferred within the period specified in sub­section (1).
    Thus, in a case appeal is not filed within 60 days
    against the order of Joint Commissioner or the Deputy
    Commissioner, the Commissioner is vested with suo motu
    power to call for and examine the records. The suo motu
    power has been given to the Commissioner to correct the
    orders of Joint Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner
    61
    even if no appeal has been filed within 60 days. Giving
    of suo motu power to the Commissioner is with object to
    ensure that an order passed by the Joint Commissioner or
    the Deputy Commissioner may be corrected when appeal is
    not filed within time under Section 69(1). The scheme of
    Section 69 especially sub­section (2) also re­enforces
    our conclusion that Legislature never contemplated
    applicability of Section 5 in Section 69(1) for condoning
    the delay in filing an appeal by applying Section 5 of
    the Limitation Act.
  79. Learned counsel for the respondent has referred to
    two Rules framed under Section 116 of 1959, Act, namely,
    the Application and Appeal Rules dated 30.08.1961 and the
    Holding of Inquiries Rules dated 30.08.1961. The
    Application and Appeal Rules provide for procedures and
    details of filing application, affidavits, memorandum of
    appeal, application for revision, etc. The said Rules, in
    no manner, support the contention of the learned counsel
    for the respondent that Section 5 of the Limitation Act
    is applicable. Similarly, Holding of Inquiries Rules
    provide for procedure of holding of inquiries, issue of
    62
    notice, etc. The above Rules also do not throw any light
    on the applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
  80. The above provision clearly indicates that provision
    for only computation of limitation has been made
    applicable to the proceedings under Act, 1959. Section
    115 cannot be read in a manner as to providing
    applicability of Section 5. There is no other provision
    in the scheme from which it can be inferred that Act,
    1959 intended applicability of Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act to proceedings of appeal before the
    Commission. We, thus, conclude that Section 5 of the
    Limitation Act is not applicable as per the scheme of
    Act, 1959.
  81. In view of the foregoing discussions, we allow the
    appeal, set aside the impugned judgment of the High
    Court. The order of the Commissioner dated 31.07.2013 is
    set aside and the appeal filed by respondent No.3 stands
    dismissed.
  82. We may, however, observe that dismissal of the
    appeal filed by respondent No.3 as above shall not
    preclude the Commissioner in exercising his suo motu
    63
    power under Section 69(2) of the Act, 1959. We, however,
    are not expressing any opinion with regard to exercise of
    suo motu by the Commissioner under Section 69(2) in the
    present case and it is for the Commissioner to invoke his
    power under Section 69(2) if he is so satisfied. Further,
    this will be without prejudice to any other remedy open
    to the respondent No.3 in law.
  83. The parties shall bear their own costs.
    ………………….J.
    ( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
    ………………….J.
    ( K.M. JOSEPH )
    New Delhi,
    May 03, 2019