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Bombay High Court
Satyabhamabai Janardan Khare vs Govind Janku Bade on 7 April, 1914
Equivalent citations: 25 Ind Cas 66
Bench: Heaton, Shah


1. The facts are stated in the reference. The question submitted for our opinion is whether the plaintiff is entitled to deduct the time between his “application to the Conciliator and the termination of the conciliation system in the District (i. e., from 28th March to 30th May 1913).

2. As no certificate is granted by the Conciliator, it is quite clear that Section 48 of the Dekkhan Agriculturists’ Relief Act has no application. There is no other, statutory provision corresponding to Section 48 to cover a case of this kind. The period of limitation applicable, therefore, would be the period prescribed under the Limitation Act, unless the plaintiff could claim to have an extension of the time in any other way,

3. It is clear that the plaintiff’s suit would be in time if filed on the 31st May 1913. The Local Government cancelled the appointments of Conciliators in the District with effect from the 30th May 1913. The plaintiff had made his application to the Conciliator for a certificate which it was obligatory upon him to obtain at the time. Up to 30th May 1913, he could not have filed his suit without a certificate from a Conciliator. All of a sudden by the Government Notification he was called upon to file his suit on the 31st May, which it was practically impossible for him to do. Under these circumstances we think the plaintiff is clearly entitled to the benefit of the rule that where the law creates a limitation and the party is disabled to conform to that limitation without any default in him, and he has no remedy over, the law will ordinarily excuse him. But this rule is subject to the limitation that it will excuse him so far as it is necessary, and not beyond. The cases of Mayer v. Harding (1867) 2 Q.B. 410 : 9 B. and S. 27n : 16 L.T. 429 : 15 W.R. 816 and Reg. v. Justices of Surrey (1880) 6 Q.B.D. 100 : 50 L.J.M.C. 10 : 43 L.T. 500 : 29 W.R. 260 : 45 J.P. 93 are fair illustrations of the application of this principle under somewhat different circumstances. The plaintiff in this case would be entitled to such extension of time as would be necessary to secure him a reasonable opportunity to file the suit in time which it became practically impossible for him to do in virtue of the Government Notification. It is not possible to lay down any-general rule as to what period would be sufficient to constitute a reasonable opportunity. It must depend upon the circumstances of each particular case, which must be duly proved; Thus, though the plaintiff in this case is not entitled to deduct the time from 28th March to 30th May 1913, he is entitled to such extension of time as may be necessary to give him a reasonable opportunity to enable him to file the suit in time.

4. We are indebted to Mr. G. S. Rao for having argued the case on behalf of the defendant at our request.

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