Supreme Court on When can Amendment of Pleadings be Allowed?

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February 25, 2019

In this recent case, taken up by Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, the Court made some essential observations pertaining to the amendment of pleadings as contained Order VI rule 17 of Code of Civil Procedure.

Also read Steps Involved in Filing of Suit

Case name: M. Revanna v. Anjanamma (Dead) By Lrs. & Ors.

In view of the aforesaid subject it would be relevant to mention that an application for amendment of pleading can be made at any stage of proceeding. An application for amendment of pleading can be made by the Plaintiff as well as the Defendant.

An application for amendment of pleading will not entertained after trial commences, unless the Court is of the opinion that in spite of due diligence, a party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of the trial.

Bench’s Verdict

While elucidating on the essentials of amendment of pleadings, the Bench made the following observations in the case:

  • When can Amendment of Pleadings be refused? That an application to amend pleadings may be refused if it introduces a totally different, new and inconsistent case, or challenges the fundamental character of the suit. The proviso to Order VI Rule 17 of the CPC virtually prevents an application for amendment of pleadings from being allowed after the trial has commenced, unless the Court comes to the conclusion that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of the trial.
  • That the burden to prove due diligence is on the person who seeks an amendment after commencement of the trial to show that in spite of due diligence, such an amendment could not have been sought earlier. There cannot be any dispute that an amendment cannot be claimed as a matter of right, and under all circumstances.
  • That though amendments are allowed in the pleadings to avoid multiplicity of litigation, the Court needs to take into consideration whether the application for amendment is bona fide or mala fide and whether the amendment causes such prejudice to the other side which cannot be compensated adequately in terms of money.

The entire case can be accessed here.