Extension of the Limitation period for Arbitration in the COVID Pandemic
Section 29A of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1966
The Sec 29A of arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1966 was amended in the year, 2015 which mentioned time limit for Arbitral Award, it stated that the arbitral award to the disputant should be awarded within twelve months from the date of arbitrators receive the notice for appointment. The Section was widened in Amendment Act of 2015, it also permitted an extension period of six months. If no award is rendered within the time period, the parties can further apply for an extension by establishing sufficient cause of the mandate of the Tribunal will be terminated. Henceforth, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019 further amended Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The same was enforced from 30. 08.2019.
Limitation under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
Section 43 of Limitation Act,1963 and Section 29A of Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996 are necessary to be read together for the commencement of arbitral proceedings for the dispute
Section 34 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 challenges the arbitral award and specifically mentions the limitation period as three months and an extra 30 days for the delay with specific reasons, to challenge the arbitral award.
The Supreme Court in the case M/S Simplex Infrastructure Ltd Vs. Union of India  held that
It is essential to know that Section 14 of the Limitation Act does not render a fresh period for limitation but it is only for exclusion of a certain period. From the outlook of the legislation, it has to be held that the provisions of Section 14 of Limitation Act, 1963 will apply to the application submitted under Section 34 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act to set aside the arbitral award. The law position is well settled with the applicability of Section 14 of Limitation Act, 1963 to the application filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996.
Recognizance for Extension of Limitation period-Supreme Court of India
In the current scenario of COVID 19, the Supreme Court Order dated 06.05.2020 under the Suo Motto Writ Civil No.3 of 2020 issued directions under I.A No. 48411 of 2020 instead of the prayer made by the Applicant for arbitration proceedings in connection to Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act,1881
In the present situation, to avoid lawyers/litigants from physically filing the case in the respective courts in the respective Courts or tribunals including the Supreme Court, the Court has order to extend the limitation period for Arbitration in the country prescribed under Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996 and Negotiable Instruments Act under Section 138 was extended with effect from 15.03.2020 till further order issued by the Court.
There has been an extension in the time period for Arbitration in relation to Section 29A of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 beyond 15th March till the lockdown opens and an additional period of 15 days which will help to safeguard the interest of the people and another aspect includes renders a fair, just and unbiased remedy for the parties to the dispute
 (2019) 2 SC 455