SC: Amendment in pleadings can’t be claimed as a matter of right

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, on 14thFebruary 2019, in the matter of M. Revana v. Anjanamma (Dead) by Lrs. & Ors, pronounced that an amendment in the pleadings cannot be claimed as a matter of right, and under all circumstances. Moreover the proviso to Order VI Rule 17 of CPC to an extent curtails absolute discretion to allow amendment at any stage.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Leave to amend may be refused if it introduces a totally different, new and inconsistent case, or challenges the fundamental character of the suit. (Para 5)

The proviso to Order VI Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure (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. The proviso, to an extent, curtails absolute discretion to allow amendment at any stage. (Para 5)

Therefore, the burden 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. (Para 5)

There cannot be any dispute that an amendment in the pleadings cannot be claimed as a matter of right, and under all circumstances. (Para 5)

Though normally 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. (Para 5)

Copy of judgement:Judgement_14-Feb-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

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