Amendment of pleadings -Law

Apex Court, while considering Order VI Rule 17 of the Code, in several judgments has laid down the principles to be applicable in the case of amendment of plaint which are as follows:

1. Surender Kumar Sharma v. Makhan Singh, at para 5:
"5. As noted here in earlier, the prayer for amendment was refused by the High Court on two grounds. So far as the first ground is concerned i.e. the prayer for amendment was a belated one, we are of the view that even if it was belated, then also, the question that needs to be decided is to see whether by allowing the amendment, the real controversy between the parties may be resolved. It is well settled that under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, wide powers and unfettered discretion have been conferred on the court to allow amendment of the pleadings to a party in such a manner and on such terms as it appears to the court just and proper. Even if, such an application for amendment of the plaint was filed belatedly, such belated amendment cannot be refused if it is found that for deciding the real controversy between the parties, it can be allowed on payment of costs. Therefore, in our view, mere delay and laches in making the application for amendment cannot be a ground to refuse the amendment."

2.North Eastern Railway Administration, Gorakhpur v. Bhagwan Das (dead) by LRS, at para16:
"16. Insofar as the principles which govern the question of granting or disallowing amendments under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC (as it stood at the relevant time) are concerned, these are also well settled. Order 6 Rule 17 CPC postulates amendment of pleadings at any stage of the proceedings. In Pirgonda Hongonda Patil v. Kalgonda Shidgonda Patil which still holds the field, it was held that all amendments ought to be allowed which satisfy the two conditions:

a. of not working injustice to the other side, and

b. of being necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties. Amendments should be refused only where the other party cannot be placed in the same position as if the pleading had been originally correct, but the amendment would cause him an injury which could not be compensated in costs."

3.Usha Devi v. Rijwan Ahamd and Others, at para 13:
"13. Mr Bharuka, on the other hand, invited our attention to another decision of this Court in Baldev Singh v. Manohar Singh. In para 17 of the decision, it was held and observed as follows: (SCC pp. 504-05)

"17. Before we part with this order, we may also notice that proviso to Order 6 Rule 17 CPC provides that amendment of pleadings shall not be allowed when the trial of the suit has already commenced. For this reason, we have examined the records and find that, in fact, the trial has not yet commenced. It appears from the records that the parties have yet to file their documentary evidence in the suit.

From the record, it also appears that the suit was not on the verge of conclusion as found by the High Court and the trial court. That apart, commencement of trial as used in proviso to Order 6 Rule 17 in the Code of Civil Procedure must be understood in the limited sense as meaning the final hearing of the suit, examination of witnesses, filing of documents and addressing of arguments. As noted hereinbefore, parties are yet to file their documents, we do not find any reason to reject the application for amendment of the written statement in view of proviso to Order 6 Rule 17 CPC which confers wide power and unfettered discretion on the court to allow an amendment of the written statement at any stage of the proceedings."

4.Rajesh Kumar Aggarwal and Others v. K.K. Modi and Others, at paras 15 & 16:
"15. The object of the rule is that the courts should try the merits of the case that come before them and should, consequently, allow all amendments that may be necessary for determining the real question in controversy between the parties provided it does not cause injustice or prejudice to the other side.

16. Order 6 Rule 17 consists of two parts; the first part is discretionary (may) and leaves it to the court to order amendment of pleading whereas the second part is imperative (shall) and enjoins the court to allow all amendments which are necessary for the purpose of determining the real question in controversy between the parties."

5.Revajeetu Builders and Developers v. Narayanaswamy and Sons and Others, at para 63
"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 he 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 withapplication filed under Order 6 Rule 17. These are only illustrative and not exhaustive."

The above principles make it clear that Courts have ample power to allow the application for

amendment of the plaint. However, it must be satisfied that the same is required in the interest of justice and for the purpose of determination of real question in controversy between the parties.

The Hon’ble Supreme court of India in Rajkumar Gurawara (Dead) Thr. L.Rs. vs S.K. Sarwagi And Co. Pvt. Ltd. And Anr. “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 introducing new cause of action and intends to prejudice the other party;

(iii) when allowing amendment application defeats the law of limitation. The plaintiff not only failed to satisfy the conditions prescribed in proviso to Order VI Rule 17 but even on merits his claim is liable to be rejected.”

Where an amendment is allowed, such amendment relates back to the date of the suit as originally filed. In Brij Kishore v. Smt. Mushtari Khatoon it was held that the Court must take the pleadings as they stand after amendment and leave out of consideration the unamended ones. The court must look to the pleadings as they stand after the amendment and leave out of consideration unamended ones.