Legal Blog: Amendment of Plaint : Principles Reiterated

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Amendment of Plaint : Principles Reiterated

Justice P. Sathasivam
Justice P. Sathasivam
Supreme Court of India
We have already dealt with similar posts on the principles to be kept in mind for amending the pleadings. The Supreme Court in Rameshkumar Agarwal Vs. Rajmala Exports Pvt. Ltd. has summarily examined the broad principles for amending the plaint. While referring to previous judgments passed by the Supreme Court, it was held as under;

6. Order VI Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as "the Code") makes it clear that every pleading shall contain only a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence but not the evidence by which they are to be proved. Sub-rule (2) of Rule 2 makes it clear that every pleading shall be divided into paragraphs, numbered consecutively, each allegation being, so far as is convenient, contained in a separate paragraph. Sub- rule (3) of Rule 2 mandates that dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in a pleading in figures as well as in words. 

7. Order VI Rule 17 of the Code enables the parties to make amendment of the plaint which reads as under; 
"17. Amendment of pleadings - The Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just, and all such amendments shall be made as may be necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties: 
Provided that no application for amendment shall be 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 trial." 
8. Order I Rule 1 of the Code speaks about who may be joined in a suit as plaintiffs. Mr. Shekhar Naphade, learned senior counsel for the appellant, after taking us through the agreement for sale dated 02.02.2006, pointed out that the parties to the said agreement being only Rameshkumar Agarwal, the present appellant and Rajmala Exports Pvt. Ltd., respondent No.1 herein and the other proposed parties, particularly, Plaintiff Nos. 2 & 3 have nothing to do with the contract, and according to him, the Courts below have committed an error in entertaining the amendment application. In the light of the said contention, we have carefully perused the agreement for sale dated 02.02.2006, parties to the same and the relevant provisions from the Code. We have already pointed out that the learned single Judge himself has agreed with the objection as to proposed defendant Nos. 3-5 and found that they are not necessary parties to the suit, however, inasmuch as the main object of the amendment sought for by the plaintiff is to explain how the money was paid, permitted the other reliefs including impleadment of plaintiff Nos. 2 & 3 as parties to the suit. 

9. In Rajkumar Gurawara (Dead) Through L.Rs vs. S.K. Sarwagi & Company Private Limited & Anr. (2008) 14 SCC 364, this Court considered the scope of amendment of pleadings before or after the commencement of the trial. In paragraph 18, this Court held as under:- 
"...........It is settled law that the grant of application for amendment be subject to certain conditions, namely, 
(i) when the nature of it is changed by permitting amendment; 
(ii) when the amendment would result in introducing new cause of action and intends to prejudice the other party; 
(iii) when allowing amendment application defeats the law of limitation........." 
10. In Revajeetu Builders & Developers vs. Narayanaswamy & Sons & Ors. (2009) 10 SCC 84, this Court once again considered the scope of amendment of pleadings. In paragraph 63, it concluded as follows: 
"Factors to be taken into consideration while dealing with applications for amendments 
63. On critically analysing both the English and Indian cases, some basic principles emerge which ought to be taken into consideration while allowing or rejecting the application for amendment: 
(1) whether the amendment sought is imperative for proper and effective adjudication of the case; 
(2) whether the application for amendment is bona fide or mala fide; 
(3) the amendment should not cause such prejudice to the other side which cannot be compensated adequately in terms of money; 
(4) refusing amendment would in fact lead to injustice or lead to multiple litigation; 
(5) whether the proposed amendment constitutionally or fundamentally changes the nature and character of the case; and 
(6) as a general rule, the court should decline amendments if a fresh suit on the amended claims would be barred by limitation on the date of application. These are some of the important factors which may be kept in mind while dealing with application filed under Order 6 Rule 17. These are only illustrative and not exhaustive." 
11. It is clear that while deciding the application for amendment ordinarily the Court must not refuse bona fide, legitimate, honest and necessary amendments and should never permit mala fide and dishonest amendments. The purpose and object of Order VI Rule 17 of the Code is to allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just. Amendment cannot be claimed as a matter of right and under all circumstances, but the Courts while deciding such prayers should not adopt a hyper-technical approach. Liberal approach should be the general rule particularly, in cases where the other side can be compensated with costs. Normally, amendments are allowed in the pleadings to avoid multiplicity of litigations.

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