The Law of Limitation provides an aggrieved party the time limit for different
suits within which it can approach the court for the relief and justice. The
suit is struck down by the law of limitation if it is brought after the
exploration of the time-limit. Its main objective is to protect the long and
established user and to indirectly punish individuals who have been slumbering
for a long time over their rights. Any person must file a suit or make a request
within the period specified by the schedule of the Limitation Act.
situations can exist where, due to his physical or mental condition, the
person is not able to file a suit or make an application. In such cases, the
law may not be the same and additional rights and benefits must be accorded to
individuals with physical disabilities. The concept of legal disability is
provided under Section 6 of The Limitation Act which also extends to other
sections such Section 7, 8 and 9 of the Limitation Act.
This concept can be
stated as a sort of cooling off time in which persons or their legal
representative cannot file suits in any way whatsoever because of any
constitutionally caused disability such as minor, insanity or being an idiot.
The parties or their legal counsel can file a suit only once the disability is
over. This concept can be described as any kind of eligibility requirements that
allows or disallows parties to challenge their legal claims.
This area of law
can be termed to be strictly time-bound and allows concessions only when there
is the existence of some extra-ordinary circumstances that justifies any
The Limitation Act primarily helps the defendant as
after the expiry of a particular time, the plaintiff cannot file a suit or an
application. However, in certain cases, it extends as a rescue to the plaintiff
as well. In this project, we have in detailed analysed the Legal Disability and
its effects on the CPC with reference to the Limitation Act.
Kinds Of Legal Disabilities
Section 6(1) of the Limitation Act, 1963 provides three kinds of legal
disabilities which are as follows:
The first of these conditions for legal disabilities are ‘minor’ that has to do
with the age of an individual. According to Section 3, Indian Majority Act,
1875 an individual is said to be a major when he or she is eighteen years
old. The calculation of the age has to be done after taking into consideration
following two points which are provided under Section 3(2) of the Indian
- The day has to be included as a whole day on which an individual is
- He or she is therefore said to have been a major when the 18th
anniversary of that day begins.
The Majority Act, 1875 can be referred to as ‘secular’ because it can apply to
an individual practising any religion. The majority age can be considered
something else other than eighteen years if a personal law states something
else. A child in the womb is also considered as a minor. However, it is also
taken into consideration by the Majority Act that where the courts have taken
into account supervision of minor’s life and property and therefore appointed a
guardian for the welfare of the minor before a person is eighteen years old then
the age of minority is extended to 21 for the individual in question.
The second condition for legal disability is ‘insanity
’. In the case of
S.K.Yadav v. State of Maharashtra
, the concept of insanity has been dealt with
in detail by the SC. It was held by the court that only legal insanity is recognised by the courts and not the medical insanity. There is a considerable
difference between the two. There is no specific test to prove legal insanity
but even if medical is proven medically or in lower court still it shall be
proved in the higher court. To see whether a particular person is insane or not,
we have to take into consideration the behaviour, antecedent, and attendant and
subsequent to the event.
In the case of Hari Singh Gond v. State of Madhya Pradesh
, four sub-types of
non-composmentis were laid down that is an idiot, one made non-compos by
illness, lunatic and one who is drunk.
Idiocy is when the person is not able to count the days of the week, unable to
tell the days of the week, has non-sane memory since birth and is unable to
A lunatic suffers from bouts of such attacks in between what is termed as
periods of sanity i.e. there are times when he can control his senses but there
are occasions where he/she functions in an erratic manner, example-epilepsy.
Madness is seen as permanent. Lunacy and madness are termed acquired insanity
while idiocy is considered as natural insanity that is while a person can turn
lunatic at any time in his lifetime, a person is an idiot since his/her
Rules Relating To Legal Disability In Limitation Act
The rule relating to minor is that the time should not run against a minor.
Provision for the fresh starting point of limitation is not provided under this
section. This ensures that an individual with an impairment can get an extension
of time before the expiry of the period written in the Schedule calculated from
the end of disability subject to the ceiling provided under Section 8.
Insane, minors and idiots are exempted under Section 6 to file a suit or an
application for the execution of the order in the time prescribed in the law.
They are allowed to file a suit or an application when their disability has
ceased and counting of the period starts from the day their disability came to
Scope of Section 6 with CPC
- Idiots, minors and insane are under the purview of disability.
- This section applies when a suit brought by a disabled person and not
against the disabled person.
- The disability must occur at the time when the period of limitation is
to be taken into consideration.
- Suit or an application for the execution of the order should in question
at the time of the proceeding.
- The limitation period should be mentioned in the third column of the
schedule to the Limitation Act for the proceedings.
The provision shall not grant an indulgence to a minor who is entitled to prefer
an appeal, but only a suit or an application for the execution of an order.
Section 6 not cover a case of an application under Order 21, Rule 90, of CPC
1908 and through the same court set aside a sale held in execution in the case
Bholanath v. Sayedatunnisia.
 Nor it does apply to an application for the
readmission of an appeal under Order 41 rule 10, of CPC.
It is not
applicable for bringing on record legal representative of a deceased
party. An application to obtain a final decree for sale in mortgage suit is
not an application for execution of the preliminary decree for sale. Section 6
does not apply to such an application. Similarly, an application for a
supplementary decree under order 34, rule 6 is not an application for execution
and does not fall within the provision of this section.
Claim under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicle Act 1939 would be applicable
under Section 6 of the Limitation Act since it is in the nature of the suit
Who is entitled to the Benefit of Section 6?
In the case of Bailchon Karan v. Basant Kumari Naik
, it was held it is
only an individual who is entitled to the suit
who may claim the privilege of Section
6. An individual who does not have the right to sue or apply to the outset of
the limitation but is later allowed to do so cannot benefit from Section 6.
In the case of Zafir v. Amiruddin
, it was held that Section 6 is applicable
only when one plaintiff is an idiot, minor or insane or when there are several
defendants and they come under the purview of disability mentioned under Section
6. In the case of Abed Hossain v. Abdul Rahman
, it was held that:
after the limitation has started running against one person, another person
becomes entitled to sue on the same cause of action, s. 6 is not attracted and
there is no fresh starting point of limitation and the disability of the latter
at the time when he becomes entitled to sue is no ground for extending the
limitation under s. 6.
Computation of Period
The date on which an individual becomes a major shall be excluded while
calculating the limitation period for a minor. A minor can also take the
advantage of Section 4 of the act while bringing a suit after becoming a major.
However, a minor is supposed to file a suit on the last day after three years
from the day he became a major but, if the courts are closed then the person can
file on the reopening day. 
The right accorded to minors or those in this provision is not a privilege that
can be exercised by people with disabilities only. However, his guardian or his
friend can still bring a suit or make an application for execution within three
years from the date on which the disability of the individual involved comes to
an end, even if the usual limitation time for such a suit or application has
expired. It cannot be stated that the suit is barred by limitation if the
plaintiff files a suit during disabilities such as minor or lunatics etc. They
are covered by Section 6 of the Act. The simple fact that there was a guardian
on his behalf who may have brought a suit earlier does not deprive a minor of
the protection offered by this provision.
Duty of the Litigant to Plead Minority
If the concern of the minority is not posed by or on behalf of the litigant, the
court is not obliged to treat it ex proprio motu. Also, the fact that the
petitioner is defined in the heading of the application as a minor represented
by the guardian is not sufficient to entitle the petitioner to the privilege of
this provision, nor is it sufficient to place on the court the obligation to
protect his rights by raising such a point on his behalf.
The omission on the
part of the court to consider the question of the minority of the petitioner
does not amount to a failure to exercise a jurisdiction so as to invoke the revisional power of the High Court under Section 115 of Civil Procedure
Code. The point about the minority of a party for the purpose of calling
in aid the provisions of this section cannot be raised for the first time in the
second appeal. The person claiming disability has the onus to prove
satisfactorily that he has come within three years of attainment of the
Accrual of Cause of Action
The section states that the minor can take exemption when the plaintiff was a
minor at the time when the course of action occurred first and the course of
action should have occurred to the minor only. Henceforth, a minor son cannot
wait till he becomes major after his father’s death if the cause of action
occurred to the father of the minor. A minor should have been present or
existed at the time of occurrence of the cause of action.
Therefore, a minor
cannot take the benefit of Section 6 if the course of action occurred before his
If the suit is brought within three years of the attainment of the
first plaintiff, the suit is within time in respect of the other plaintiff who
was born after the date of alienation, even though in their case the ordinary
period of limitation has run out; this is so because the younger brothers have
no independent right to sue, but their right is derived from their elder
brother’s capacity to sue; the time within which they can sue is co-existence
with the time allowed to the elder brother.
Combination with other Section 3, 7, 8, 9
In its parent Act, which is the Limitation Act, a major part of the legal
disability rules are enshrined, in particular Sections 6, 7 and 9
describe in great detail the various aspects of technical insight. Such Sections
support each other astutely.
A very crucial Section is Section 3 of the Limitation Act
. It deals with the various periods of time that are to be
allowed for parties to file cases, beyond which the notion of limitation
prevents parties from filing suits. It should be noted, however, that some
exceptions are also provided for in this Section, in the case of exceptional
circumstances covered by Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act
various reasons under Sections 6 and 7
of the Act that allow parties to file
suits after the time frame when the disability is over are minority, insanity
The disability must actually occur at the time that the limitation period is
scheduled to begin. No future disability will result in the resetting of this
time according to Section 9 of the Limitation Act after such a time frame has
already begun. If a person has multiple disabilities, i.e. at least two or if
such a person has got rid of one type of disability and suffers from a new one
according to Section 6(2)
, then under such cases he/she can either file a
complaint after these multiple disabilities have ceased to exist or the newest
disability has ceased to exist. Section 8
makes it perfectly evident that
there is no definition of pre-emptive Action in this situation and that the
restriction date is three years after the demise of such an individual or the
termination of his disability.
This Section is ancillary to and exclusive to the waiver given under
Sub-Section 6 and 7
, and does not grant any significant rights. This Section
is in the nature of a proviso to Sub-Section 6 and 7. Example, where the
father, as the trustee, renders an alienation on behalf of himself and his three
minor sons and the eldest son, obtains a majority 2 years before the death of
the father, a partition suit and separate ownership by the sons of their 2/3rd
share on the premise that the alienation of the father was not obligatory on
them, filed more than three years after the death of the father but eldest son
obtains majority two years before.
The Supreme Court ruled that there was a cumulative effect of Section 6 and
. It would have been read in the third column of the relevant Article
of the Limitation Act
that a person with a disability may sue within the same
duration as would otherwise have been permitted from the time thus defined in
the third column of the schedule, but that special limitation as an exception
has been given in Section 8
that the prolonged duration after the termination
of the disability shall not exceed three years after the cessation of the
disability or the death of the individual with disabilities.
It has also been
pointed out by the Supreme Court
that in any case, the litigant is eligible to
a fresh starting point for restriction from the date of termination of the
disability, subject to the condition that in no case, the duration extended by
that phase under Section 6 or Section 7 shall be more than three years from
the date of cessation of disability.
The present Section adds, as a condition of the proviso to Section 6,
no event shall the term be extended beyond three years from the cessation of the
disability. Under this clause, the time period may be extended to a maximum
of three years wherein compliance with ordinary law, there is a time limit of
less than three years for bringing an action. However, if the remaining duration
is longer than three years, no extension can be given.
The limitation period shall be determined from the termination of the
impairment or death of the person affected by the disability. Accordingly, the
applicant must claim that he obtained a majority within three years of filing
the suit. A spouse or assignee of an individual with a disability cannot
benefit from the benefits of Section 6 to 8
. If the limitation duration
specified for a suit is longer than three years, there are two courses open to
He may file a suit within the period specified, as set out in the schedule of
the Limitation Act
, if the prescribed period expires during the period of its
minority or if it does not expire during the period of its minority, it may wait
for the full duration of the time to run and then before the expiry of the
prescribed period, institute a suit. Alternatively, it can take advantage of the
provisions of Section 8
to bring a suit within three years of the termination
of the impairment.
When Section 8
refers to the cessation of disability,
it means the cessation of disability as a result of the loss of the capacity of
the party to grant a valid discharge. The discharge would halt if one in the
community had accumulated the capacity to grant a legitimate discharge without
the competition of the others.
The expanded limitation period referred to in Section 6 or Section 7 shall not
apply to pre-emption suits. As the right to pre-emption should be
automatically claimed by a minority or other disability, there will be no
justification for laches in the declaration of the right.
Rules Pertaining To Legal Disability
There are some of the Sections which deals with legal disability are:
Relevant Case Laws +Pertaining to Legal Disability
- According to Order 8 of Rule 5(1) of the CPC, it has been specified that
if a particular charge has not been clearly rejected or not acknowledged by
the defendant, it must be expressly admitted, except in respect of persons
with legal disabilities.
- Section 6(3) of the Limitation Act of 1963 empowers legal
representatives to bring an action after the death of a person with a legal
disability, and that clause is enabled by Order 22 of Rule 3 (1) of the
CPC that allows legal representatives of a deceased plaintiff party to a
- According to Rule 4A of Order 22, the court can appoint a deputy general
or an officer of the court as it deems fit to represent the estate of the
deceased person, in the event that no legal representatives remain.
- Under Rule 1(1) of Order 23 of the CPC, an action in respect of which
the applicant is a minor or any other person to whom Rule 1 to 14 of Order
31 applies can be withdrawn only after the court has been satisfied, as
explained in Rule 3 of Order 23, on the grounds of a formal defect or the
existence of grounds for filing a fresh suit. In the case of Joannala Sura Reddy v.
Tiyyagura Srinivasa, it was reported that no fresh suit could be brought if
the previous suit had not been withdrawn after the court had given its consent
pursuant to Rules 1 and 3 of Order 23.
- In the case of Vidya Wat v. Hans Raj, pursuant to Rule 12 of Order
32 of the CPC, which deals with cases filed by minors for them to obtain a
majority, it was claimed that, pursuant to the particular provision referred to
above, no dismissal of the case is appropriate in the event that the minor
wishes not to pursue the case after obtaining a majority.
Although this list is not comprehensive, it attempts to cover significant cases
in a variety of high courts and Supreme Courts, which can be considered to be
very important in establishing procedures related to the process of legal
disability. This includes:
- Darshan Singh v. Gurdev Singh:
Section 6 allows the minor to
extend the restriction to a longer period of time and gives the minor, a coward
or an idiot the right to bring an action or to make an application within the
same period specified in the third column of the Schedule to the Act after the
legal disability has come to an end. The special restriction explained in Section 8 of the Act clarified that the prolonged duration after the
termination of the disability does not extend beyond three years after the death
of such a legally disabled person or the termination of that legal disability.
In any case, the claimant is found to be entitled to a new limitation period
from the date of termination of disability under Section 8 and is also subject
to the condition that the period of such extension under Section 6 or 7. The
plaintiff can, therefore, file a suit within this time frame before restriction
- Udhavji Anandji Ladha and Ors. v. Bapudas Ramdas Darbar:
does not cover any sort of intervening of legal disability in any way
whatsoever. If there is a legal disability, then Section 6 may be successfully
enforced. However, if a person cannot be identified as suffering from any kind
of legal disability when such a restriction period starts, he cannot in any way
make use of the relaxation of the requirements provided by Section-6. When
reading Section 3, the limitation period for suits must be considered by
reading Schedule 1 to Sections 4 to 25 of the Limitation Act; and thus the
limitation period for suits of a minor cannot be the period referred to in Schedule 1, but the special period referred to in Section 6 of the Limitation
Act. Consequently, in the case of a minor, it cannot be claimed that the time
limit for filing the suits referred to in Section 6 has expired without taking
into account the provisions involved. This means that the right of minors to
challenge suits is not stripped away without giving them a fair period of time
to do so accordingly.
- Lalchand Dhanalal v. Dharamchand and Ors:
This case claimed that the
cause of the action or grievance must take place when the complainant (in this
particular case the administrator) dies and the limitation period is then
started without subsequent invalidity leading to the reset of the time in
compliance with Section 9 of the Limitation Act. The applicant can only
legitimately assert the advantage if such a right exists because of a legal
disability as and when the limitation period has begun. Any resulting disability
on its part would not stop the restriction from taking effect. It would also be
subject to the same limitation period as the former restricted owner, but such a
disability may occur in his defence, given that his arguments are independent of
the plea of the earlier applicant.
- Bapu Tatya Desai v. Bala Raojee Desai:
This case claimed that the
object of Section 7 of the Limitation Act is to control the supposed
indulgence which is available to minors in order to ensure that the benefit of Section 6 of the Limitation Act does not extend to a correspondingly long
period of time, but only until the eldest of the lot does not end up as a major
- Smt. Usha Rani Banerjee & Ors v. Premier Insurance Company Ltd:
Section 7 had to be taken as an exception to the general principle set
out in Section 6 and held that if there were several persons who were jointly
entitled to file suits and if one of them were disabled, the time would not run
against either of them until the disability ceased to exist. But if one of the
persons entitled to institute a suit was competent to grant discharge without
competition from the other, then time would begin to run against both of them.
Recommendations Made By Law Commission
In its eight-ninth report in 1963, the Law Commission of India concentrated on
the Restriction Act and thus provided the following pieces of recommendations,
which included the following Sections directly on legal disability:
- Under Sections 6 to 8 of the Statute, the Limitation Act dealt
thoroughly with the notion of legal disabilities, with Section 9 serving as
a proviso of sorts.
- The Commission came up with the suggestion that there should be no
pre-emptive definition of legal disabilities in this statute since it
thought that first, pre-emptiness as a concept applied on a very brief
timeline and that the legislature felt at several junctions that there was
no serious reason to carry this about. There have been some special rules
for the expansion of the time limit, and so no additional addition of this
sort should be necessary.
- The Commission also found that the grammatical features of some Sections
should be strengthened. It was recommended that Section 7 should be
re-drafted to delete the phrase time will not run in order to avoid any
Thus we should conclude from the examples described above that the Law
of Limitation and Condonation of Delay are two effective mechanisms in the
swift resolution of cases and effective lawsuits. The law of limitation, on the
one hand, holds a watch on the pulling of cases and prescribes a timeframe
during which the suit can be filed and the time available within which the
plaintiff can reasonably seek the remedy.
The law of condonation of delay holds
the concept of natural justice in Act and also says that different persons can
have different issues, since the same sentence or singular rule may not extend
in the same manner to all of them. It is also necessary to hear them and
determine accordingly if they satisfy the judgement criteria or if they merit a
After reviewing the different facets of the legal impairment process-its
meanings, its elements, its history of growth, the various important case-laws,
etc., we conclude that this mechanism has far-reaching implications in the
that can systematically spread over a long period of time.
statute is designed specifically for use by legitimately discredited persons and
their legal representatives to reasonably assert what is rightfully theirs
within a reasonable amount of time. Since such persons are not constitutionally
allowed to file suits for such reasons, they may be wrongfully deprived of their
claims and dues on occasions. It is designed to guarantee that legal insanity or
a minority does not strip those people of their legal rights in any manner.
However this defensive measure may also be easily misused and as a result, some
caveat clauses have been added, such as those of the three-year duration, to
guarantee equal oversight for all sides of the conflict. This definition was
influenced by a variety of case-laws determined by various High Courts
as by the Supreme Court
The Law Commission
, on the other hand, thought that
the law was fairly clear; it is abundantly obvious from the Act that, in their
previous findings, they recommended only one amendment to that in Section 7.
However, on a personal basis, we believe that this very statute is very accurate
and is well supported by the judicial machinery in order to ensure a marginal
abuse of its provisions.
 Legal disability and its effect on civil law
< http://inbaviewpoint.org/legal-disability-effect-civil-law/> accessed on 8
 Limitation Act 1963, Section 6(1).
 Indian Majority Act 1875, Section 3.
 Indian Majority Act 1875, Section 3(2).
 S.K.Yadav V State of Maharashtra S.L.P. (Crl.) No.509 of 2008.
 Hari Singh Gond v. State of Madhya Pradesh A.I.R. 2009 S.C. 768.
 Hari Singh Gond v. State of Madhya Pradesh A.I.R. 2009 S.C. 768.
 Ponnamma Pilai v. Padmanabhan channar A.I.R. 1969 Ker. 163.
 A.I.R. 1943 Mad. 55.
 Sonubhai v. Shivaji Rao 45 Bom 648.
 Shila Wanti v. Kishore Chand A.I.R. 1933 Cal. 508.
 Govindnaik v. Bassawannewa A.I.R. 1941 Bom 203.
 Kondkar Mahomed v. Chandra Kumar 56 Cal. 1117.
 Motor Vehicle Act 1939, Section 110-A.
 Limitation Act, Section 6.
 Bailchon Karan v. Basant Kumari Naik A.I.R. 1999 S.C. 876.
 Zafir v. Amiruddin A.I.R. 1963 Pat.108.
 Abed hossain v. Abdul Rahman I.L.R. (1935)63, Cal. 92.
 Shah Hiralal v. Shah Fulchand A.I.R. 1956 Sau 90.
 I.S. Mohammad v. N.A.N. Mohammad A.I.R. 1984 Guj. 126.
 Tulsiram v. Kishori Prasad A.I.R. 1962 Pat 189.
 Electricity Board of UP v. Sheo Nath Singh A.I.R. 1976 All. 118.
 Panchu Mandal v. Sheikh Isaf 17 CWN 667.
 Harikumar v. Udeyram A.I.R. 1972 Bom. 262.
 Gopi Nath v. Satish Chandra A.I.R. 1962 All. 53.
 Kasim v sip A.I.R. 1956 Sau 20.
 Bailchon Karan v. Basant Kumari Naik A.I.R. 1999 S.C. 876.
 Zafir v. Amiruddin A.I.R. 1963 Pat.108.
 The Limitation Act, 1963, sec. 6 (2).
 The Limitation Act, 1963, sec. 8.
 Rangaswami v. Thangavelu, 42 Mad 637.
 Janardan v. Nilkantha, AIR 1952 Ori. 31.
 Kalandavel Gounder v. Chinnapan, AIR 1965 Mad 541S.
 Vasudeva v. Maguni , 24 Mad 387.
 Ponnamma Pilai v. Padmanabhan channar A.I.R. 1969 Ker. 163 (FB).
 Kuntappa v. A.K. Desai, A.I.R. 1973 Mys. 50.
 Abdul Padia v. Dinbandhu, A.I.R. 1960 Ori 15.
 Nanhe khan v. Ganpati, A.I.R. 1954 Hyd. 45.
 Ponnamma Pilai v. Padmanabhan channar A.I.R. 1969 Ker. 163 (FB).
 Suraj Bhan v. Balwant Singh, A.I.R. 1972 Punj. 276.
 Vishwanathan v. Ethirajulu, (1920) 45 MLJ 389.
 The Code of Civil Procedure 1908, order 8 rule 5 (1).
 The Limitation Act, 1963, sec. 6 (3).
 The Code of Civil Procedure 1908, order 22 rule 3 (1).
 The Code of Civil Procedure 1908, order 22 rule 4 A.
 Joannala Sura Reddy v. Tiyyagura Srinivasa A.I.R. 2004 AP 222.
 Vidya Wat v. Hans Raj A.I.R. 1993 Del 187.
 Darshan Singh v. Gurdev Singh 1995 A.I.R. 75.
 Udhavji Anandji Ladha and Ors. v. Bapudas Ramdas Darbar A.I.R. 1950 Bom 94.
 Lalchand Dhanalal v. Dharamchand and Ors. A.I.R. 1965 MP 102.
 Smt. Usha Rani Banerjee & Ors v. Premier Insurance Company Ltd AIR 1983
 Law Commission of India, Eighty Ninth report on The Limitation Act, 1963.
 Ibid, Chapter 16, para 16-E.
 Ibid, Chapter 44, para 4.
- Yash Gupta, National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam
- Aayush Akar, National Law University Odisha, Cuttack