T.P. Naik, J.
1. This is an appeal against an order of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. Indore, dismissing the appellant's application for compensation on a preliminary ground.
2. The alleged accident took place on 29th September 1964 and the application for claim was filed on 2nd September 1965. The applicant-appellants contended that at the time of the accident they were minors and that the appellant No. 1 attained majority on 21st July 1965 and, therefore, he filed the claim petition within two months of the date of attainment of majority. On these grounds, the appellants prayed for condonation of delay.
3. The learned Judge of the Claims Tribunal framed two preliminary issues, namely:--
'1. Whether the applicant No. 1 attained the age of majority on 21-7-1965?
2. If so, whether the applicants were prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time?'
In regard to the first issue, the learned Judge found in favour of the appellants. Regarding the other issue he came to the conclusion that Section 6 of the Limitation Act. 1963, would not apply to the proceedings before him and, therefore, the appellant-applicants could not set the benefit of the provisions of that section and that, under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act. 1939, the minority of the appellants could not be said to be a sufficient cause for condonation of delay. Consequently, the learned Judge dismissed the claim petition.
4. Shri D. K. Jain, learned counsel for the appellants, contended that in view of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act Section 6 thereof would be applicable to the present case, according to which provision the period during which the appellant remained minor shall be excluded. In the alternative, he contended that all the applicants in the case were minors and, therefore, the delay in the filing of the claims petition deserved to be condoned under the proviso to Section 110-A (3) because the fact that minority of the applicants prevented them from making an application would be a sufficient cause for condonation of delay. He also relied on M. P. S. R. T. Corporation v. Smt. Munnabai, (1967 MPLJ 963).
5. Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act reads as follows:--
'Where any special or local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or application a period of limitation different from the period prescribed by the Schedule, the provisions of Section 3 shall apply as if such period were the period prescribed by the Schedule and for the purpose of determining any period of limitation prescribed for any suit appeal or application by any special or local law. the provisions -- contained in Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) shall apply only in so far as, and to the extent to which, they are not expressly excluded by such special or local law.'
This provision makes it clear that to all proceedings under any special or local law. so long as the operation of the Limitation Act is not specifically excluded. Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act would apply. Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Limitation Act provides that:--
6. '(1) Where a person entitled to institute a suit or make an application for the execution of a decree is, at the time from which the prescribed period is to be reckoned, a minor or insane, or an idiot, he may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the disability has ceased, as would otherwise have been allowed from the time specified therefor in the third column of the Schedule.' Thus under the provisions of Section 6 the appellant No. 1 is entitled to the exclusion of time upto the date of attainment of majority, if the word 'suit', occurring in Section 6(1) includes an application of the kind in question. The word 'suit' has not been defined in the Limitation Act but Section 2(1) states that 'suit' does not include an appeal or an application. Section 2(1) only excludes an appeal or an application- The word 'suit' as contemplated in the provisions of the Limitation Act, has a wider meaning. Under the Code of Civil Procedure a 'suit' is any proceeding which is instituted by the presentation of a plaint. If we look to the provisions of Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, we find that although the proceedings are not technically termed as 'suit'; they are instituted by the presentation of an application which is more or less like a plaint. The provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules framed thereunder for the trial of claim petition clearly show that proceedings under Section 110-A are in the nature of a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure- In these circumstances, there is hardly any doubt that an application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act would attract the provisions of Section 6 of the Limitation Act.
7. In 1967 MFLJ 963 (supra), a Division Bench of this Court observed--
'But we have to consider the effect of Section 29 of the said Act. Sub-section (2) of that section provides that where any special or local law prescribes for anv suit, appeal or application, a period of limitation different from the period prescribed by the Schedule, the provisions of Section 3 shall apply as if such period were the period prescribed by the Schedule and for the purpose of determining any period of limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application by any special or local law, the provisions contained in Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) shall apply only in so far as, and to the extent to which they are not expressly excluded by such special or local law. Therefore, the other section of the Limitation Act, namely. Sections 4 to 24 will be applicable to a case of claim petition regarding a motor accident.'
8. Learned counsel for the respondents referred to the decision in Khairunnissa v. Munpl. Corporation, Bombay, (1966 ACJ 37 (Bom)), for the proposition that the word 'suit', occurring in Section 6(1) of the Limitation Act does not cover an application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act. In that case, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court was considering an application under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, in the context of the provisions of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. While dealing with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure and the Limitation Act, it was observed in that case that--
'It is no doubt true that these cases illustrate that the word 'suit' is capable of having a very wide connotation and may include, depending upon the context, any legal proceeding commenced by one person against another in order to enforce a civil right. From this, it cannot necessarily be held that the word 'suit' must be given such a wide meaning wherever it occurs. In order to determine the ambit of the word used, the Court must consider the object which the provision was intended to achieve.'
9. In Bhagwat Singh v. State of Rajasthan, (AIR 1964 SC 444), the Supreme Court observed--
'A proceeding which does not commence with a plaint or petition in the nature of plaint, or where the claim is not in respect of a dispute ordinarily triable in a Civil Court, would prima facie not be regarded as falling within Section 86, Civil P. C.'
10. A claim petition under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act may not technically be described as a plaint. But it is a petition which for all material purposes is like a plaint and it pertains to a dispute ordinarily triable in a civil Court. As observed by the Bombay High Court in 1966 ACJ 37 (Bom) (supra), the word 'suit' is capable of having a very wide connotation and may include any legal proceedings commenced by one person against another in order to enforce a civil right. In this context also, it cannot be disputed that an application under Section 110-A of the Motor Vehicles Act is a suit falling within the scope of the word 'suit' used in Section 6 of the Limitation Act. In these circumstances, the appellant No. 1, who was a minor on the date of the accident, is entitled to the benefit of Section 6 of the Limitation Act, and consequently the application filed by him before the Claims Tribunal, Indore, is held to be within time.
11. For these reasons, the conclusions arrived at by the Tribunal deserve to be set aside. This appeal, is therefore, allowed, the order of the Tribunal is set aside and the case is sent back to the Tribunal for disposal in accordance with law. The appellants shall be entitled to costs of this appeal. Counsel's fee is fixed at Rs. 100/-, if certified.