This article ON Legal Disability embarks on an exploration of the intricate depths of Section 6 of the Limitation Act.

This article embarks on an exploration of the intricate depths of Section 6 of the Limitation Act by unravelling the details embedded in its provisions, further aided by the rulings of the apex court.


The Limitation Act, 1963 (hereinafter as “the Act”), is an important piece of legislation that governs the time limits within which legal proceedings must be initiated in India. The Act unfolds its regulatory framework, carefully outlining the time-based boundaries within which legal actions must be set in motion. One of the key provisions of the Act is the provision of legal disability, which is dealt with under Section 6 of the Act. This deals with the extension of the prescribed period of limitation for instituting suits or applications in cases where the person entitled to commence such proceedings is under a disability.

This provision emerges as a beacon of equitable allowance, balancing itself between legal rigidity and human vulnerabilities. It aims to protect the interests of minors, persons of unsound mind, and other individuals who may be unable to exercise their legal rights due to certain disabilities. It demonstrates the keen awareness of the legal system of the intricate challenges individuals face, especially circumstances which are beyond one’s control and hinder them from seeking timely legal remedies.

Beyond the surface-level constraints imposed by time, Section 6 delves into the broader realms of justice and fairness. It operates on the understanding that the limited periods prescribed under the Act should not operate in such a rigid manner that it would not cater to the complexities of personal incapacities. This legal provision, therefore, becomes a tool for inclusivity while recognizing that the stipulated periods for legal actions must be considerate of the diverse challenges faced by individuals.

Kinds of Legal Disabilities

Section 6 of the Act talks about mainly three kinds of legal disabilities:

(i) Minority – According to Indian Majority Act, 1875, anyone below 18 years of age is considered a minor in India. Also, in case a guardian is appointed by a court for the welfare of a minor before they turn 18 years old, then they attain the age of legal majority at 21 years of age. Further, as per the “explanation” provided under Section 6 of the Act, a “minor” includes a child in the womb.

(ii) Insanity – There is no hard and fast definition for this term. As discussed in Bapu @ Gajraj Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (2007) 8 SCC 66, there is no precise definition for the term “insanity”. It is said to be a term which is used to describe varying degrees of mental disorder. However, there is a difference between legal and medical insanity. Here, we are only considering legal insanity. Black’s Law Dictionary defines insanity as,

“any mental disorder severe enough that it prevents a person from having legal capacity and excuses the person from criminal or civil responsibility.”

(iii) Idiot – It was observed in Hari Singh Gond v. State of M.P., (2008) 16 SCC 109,

“an idiot is one who is of non-sane memory from his birth, by a perpetual infirmity, without lucid intervals; and those are said to be idiots who cannot count twenty, or tell the days of the week, or who do not know their fathers or mother, or the like.”

Just like insanity, even the term 'idiot' does not have a one-fixed definition and is quite open to courts for their interpretations.

Now that the kinds of legal disabilities under Section 6 are clear, it is necessary to discuss the entire provision in itself to understand the various nuances provided by it.

Rules Relating to Legal Disability

Section 6 of the Act contains certain rules which cater to extensions of the stipulated limitation periods in case of certain legal disabilities. Sub-section (1) addresses situations where the person entitled to institute a suit or make an application is a minor, insane, or an idiot (a term used in the Act to refer to individuals with intellectual disabilities) at the time when the prescribed period of limitation commences.

In such cases, the individual is granted an extension of time equal to the period of limitation, commencing from the date when the disability ceases. This provision ensures that individuals who are not able to initiate legal proceedings due to disabilities which are not in their control are not denied their right to seek legal remedies.

Section 6(2) deals with cases where an individual is affected by two or more disabilities simultaneously or sequentially before the initial disability ceases. In such a case, the person is allowed to initiate legal proceedings within the same period after both disabilities have ceased, as would have been allowed from the time specified in the Schedule of the Act.

Subsections (3) and (5) of Section 6 cover scenarios where the disability continues until the death of the person entitled to initiate legal proceedings. In such cases, the legal representative of the deceased individual may commence the suit or make the application within the same period after the death, as would have been allowed to the deceased person from the time specified in the Act.

Section 6(4) discusses circumstances where the legal representative referred to in the previous sub-section is also affected by a disability at the time of the death of the person they represent. In such a scenario, the rules as contained in subsections (1) and (2) are applicable, granting an extension of the limitation period to the legal representative as well.

Now, the explanation provided in Section 6 clarifies that the term 'minor' includes a child in the womb, ensuring that the rights of an unborn child are also protected under this provision.

The significance of this provision lies in its recognition of the vulnerabilities and limitations faced by certain individuals due to disabilities. It ensures that the legal system provides a level playing field and does not deprive these individuals of their right to seek justice due to circumstances beyond their control.

Important Cases

[1] Hukmi v. Gian Kaur, (1971) 3 SCC 782

In the instant matter, as per the applicable law for the parties involved, Gain Kaur inherited the estate, who was a minor at the time. The property was officially recorded in her grandmother Hukmi’s name. When the lawsuit was initiated in 1956, the 12-year time frame specified by the law of limitation for Gian Kaur to file a possession suit had not expired.

The learned judge suggested that a minor is entitled to 12 years commencing from when they reach the age of majority if the right to sue emerges during their minority. However, this statement was considered to be inaccurate by the apex court. Despite this error in the interpretation of the law, it did not lead to the dismissal of a legitimate claim and the appeal was dismissed.

[2] Ajab Singh v. Antram, (2009) 11 SCC 53

In 1981 and 1982, both the respondents were minors. In 1993, they filed a revision application against orders passed in these respective years along with an application of condonation of delay. It was held that the revision cannot be treated as time-barred. However, the court found that Section 6 of the Act applies to the proceedings which enables a minor to make an application after they cease to be a minor. Therefore, a revision application before a revisional authority can be filed by a minor after they attain the age of majority as the Act provides for such an extension under Section 6.


Section 6 of the Limitation Act, 1963, is a thoughtful and compassionate provision which upholds the principles of equity and fairness in the Indian legal system. By granting extensions of the limitation period to individuals with disabilities and their legal representatives, this section ensures that the pursuit of justice is not hampered by the restrictions imposed by certain legal disabilities which are out of the control of individuals and which prevent them from getting access to appropriate legal remedies. This provision serves as an example of the legal system’s commitment to protecting the rights of all individuals, regardless of their circumstances or conditions.


[1] Dr. Medha Kolhatkar, Commentary on the Limitation Act, 12th Edition, 2019

[2] U.N. Mitra, Law of Limitation and Prescription Law, 16th Edition, 2021

[3] The Limitation Act, 1963, Available Here

Dewanshi Agarwal

Dewanshi Agarwal

Dewanshi possesses a solid understanding of legal principles and demonstrates remarkable effectiveness in articulating them through her writing skills. Institution: National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi

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