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Legal Disability under Limitation Act

Every person has to file his suit or make his application within the time prescribed under the schedule of the Limitation Act only. The 'Law of Limitation' prescribes the time-limit for different suits within, which an aggrieved person can file the suit. But there can be circumstances where due to his physical or mental disability he is unable to file the suit or make an application. In such cases the law must not be the same and special privileges and relaxation must be given to the persons undergoing legal disability.

The Limitation Act mainly helps the defendants as it bars the filing of suit or making of application after the expiry of the limitation period. But in some cases Limitation Act even comes to the rescue of the plaintiff also. For example if a person is insane or an idiot then the time will not run for him and period of limitation will be extended for such person. Suppose if a person is of 12 years of age and the period of limitation of filing a suit is 3 years then in this case he being a minor cannot file a suit. So, in this case time will not run for him and the 3 year time will be counted from the date of his attaining majority, i.e., 18 years of age.

Legal disability is the lack of capability to do an act. Some of the examples of legal disability are minority, insanity, idiocy, etc. Section 6 of the Limitation Act, 1963 excuses an insane person, minor and idiot to file suit or make an application for the execution of a decree within the time prescribed by law and enables him to file the suit or make an application after the disability has ceased, counting the period of time from the date on which the disability ceased. If the person is suffering from two disabilities the time will be counted when both the disabilities have been ceased.

However, if the disability continues up to the death of the person then as per section 6(3) of the Limitation Act, his legal representative may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the death, as would otherwise have been allowed from the time so specified in the schedule.

However, Section 9 of Limitation Act says that once time has begun to run, no subsequent disability or inability to sue can stop its running. This means that if even at one point of time the person is free from any legal disability then he cannot take the advantage of section 6 and time will keeping running for him. For example, if a person has to file a suit on 1-1-2016 till 31-12-2018 and he was free from any legal disability on 1-1-2016 but he became insane on 30-4-2016 then he cannot take the benefit of section 6 as time has already begun for him neither his legal representative can be allowed extra time for filing the suit.

So, section 6 applies only to the cases of initial and not to subsequent disability. Further it does not provide for a fresh starting point of limitation rather the person under disability is only entitled to an extension of time counting from the cessation of his disability. 

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