What is Condonation of Delay: Meaning, Legalities and Application Process
Every party has to file their appeal or a suit in courts, tribunals and other judicial bodies within a stipulated time frame. Courts or other bodies can refuse to accept the application if the time limit elapses. However, there are several legal provisions which condone the delay in filing appeals or suits.
Read on to know the meaning of condonation of delay and its applications under several legislations.
What Is Condonation of Delay?
Condonation of delay refers to an exception in which courts or other bodies cannot reject the appeal filed by a party on the ground that there is a delay in filing the suit. If the party can provide sufficient reason for the delay in filing the appeal, courts having discretionary jurisdiction can condone that delay.
Individuals can even enjoy condonation benefits if they delay filing their income tax returns. In case taxpayers have faced any genuine hardship in verifying their returns within the deadline and they can provide proof of the same, the IT Department can consider their request.
Condonation of Delay Under Income Tax Act, 1961
This act also provides condonation benefits to taxpayers having genuine reasons for failing to meet the prescribed time limit. As per Section 119 (2) (B) of the IT Act, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) can give any tax authority the power to condone delay of any taxpayer.
This includes delays in filing claims or applications for refunds, exemptions or any other matter under the IT Act. However, it can only happen if the concerned taxpayer files a written submission stating reasons for missing the given timeline. CBDT can authorise tax officers to consider their application if they have presented genuine reasons for missing the stipulated time limit.
For example, the IT Department provides a 120 days window to taxpayers to verify their returns after filling them. In case a taxpayer misses the verification within this window, he/she does not need to file his/her ITR once again. The taxpayer can use the section mentioned above and take advantage of condonation benefits.
Condonation of Delay Under Limitation Act of 1963
This act passed in 1963 sets a time limit for filing an application or a suit in any court or tribunal. The act clearly specifies the factors that authorities must consider while they set a time limit for appeals and suits.
Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 provides for condonation of delay. According to this provision, if any party has sufficient reason for not being able to file their application within the restricted time period, courts can consider the party's request if the provided reasons satisfy them.
There is no proper definition of the term 'sufficient reasons', and it has been left to the court's discretion. They can consider the facts and situation of each case before making a decision. According to the Limitation Act, the time limit for specific cases is as follows:
- Any suit relating to accounts, contracts, and movable properties has a time limit of 3 years.
- Any immovable property-related suit has a time span of 12 years, and cases related to mortgaged properties have a time restriction of 30 years.
- A tort suit will have a time span of 1 year. However, the compensation cases come with a time restriction of 3 years. Additionally, offences involving the Criminal Procedure Code and Code of Civil Procedure have a time limit of 30-90 days.
Condonation of Delay Under Companies Act, 2013
This act deals with condoning the delay on the part of companies. Any company that is mandated to file documents or applications under various rules and has failed to file them is eligible to claim relaxations.
Section 460 of the Companies Act, 2013 deals with the condonation of delay for any document or application that a company has to file. Section 460 (A) of this Act deals with delays in filling any documents or applications with the Central government. In these situations, the government can condone the delay if the party provides their reasons in writing.
Similarly, Section 460 (B) of the Companies Act, 2013 relates to delays in filing documents or forms with the Registrar of Companies. The Central government can condone this delay if companies provide sufficient reasons for the same.
When Is Condonation of Delay Permissible?
Now that you are aware of the meaning of condonation of delay and its operation under various statutes, let's move on to the instances in which condonation of delay is permissible. These are as follows:
- If there have been amendments to the laws since their inception.
- Individuals who should file the suit are behind bars or under imprisonment.
- If the individual responsible for filing the suit is ill.
- Party involved is a pardanashin woman, i.e., a woman who practices seclusion.
- The party or individual is illiterate.
- The delay is because the writ petition filed by the party is pending with some court or any judicial body.
- If the party involved belongs to a financially weak minority group.
What Is the Procedure to Apply for a Condonation of Delay?
Any corporate house which has missed filing documents or any application under relevant sections of the Companies Act can condone the delay by requesting the Central Government about the same. Here are steps for applying for condonation of delay:
Step 1: Company must convene a board meeting in which it should ratify the application requesting condonation of delay to the government.
Step 2: Empower or authorise the Chief Financial Officer of the company to file an appeal with the government.
Step 3: Companies are required to submit Form CG-1 to the Central government. Along with this form, they should also file a board-ratified resolution seeking condonation of delay with the government.
Step 4: After going through all documents submitted by companies, the government will take a decision to either accept or reject the application.
Step 5: Companies must file the government’s order along with the delayed documents in Form INC-28 with ROC.
In order to provide some respite to companies, the government has come out with various schemes relating to condoning the delays. These include Company Law Settlement Scheme, 2014, Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020 as well as LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020.
The main aim of these schemes is to help new companies and LLPs to escape stringent penalties and punishments for late filing of documents during their initial years.
The government has come up with proposals related to condoning delays in filing suits as well as applications. It saves entities who have genuine reasons for missing the time limit for filing applications. This detailed guide about the meaning of condonation of delay and its various aspects under different legislations will help the readers to take advantage of condonation benefits.