S 20C Specific Relief Act – Suits To Be Disposed Within 12+6 Months

Section 20C of Specific Relief Act (inserted by 2018 amendment) deals with expeditious disposal of suits, and the same reads as follows:

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), a suit filed under the provisions of this Act shall be disposed of by the court within a period of twelve months from the date of service of summons to the defendant: Provided that the said period may be extended for a further period not exceeding six months in aggregate after recording reasons in writing for such extension by the court.

So a suit filed under Specific Relief Act, if this provision is applied, has to be disposed of within 12+ 6 months.

Recently, this provision was quoted before the Calcutta High Court in a plea seeking expeditious disposal of a suit.

Literally reading, Section 20C covers every suit (seeking declaration, specific performance, injunction etc). However, it appears (from the placing of that provision after Sections 20A and 20B) that it was really intended to fix time limit for disposal for Special Courts to be established under Section 20B to try a suit under this Act in respect of contracts relating to infrastructure projects. We may have to wait for caselaws (or perhaps an amendment) to get a clarification on this point.

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