What is Pleading ?
As per Order VI Rule 1, “Pleading” shall mean plaint and written statement.
Object and Interpretation of Order VI rule 17.
The Provision related to Amendment of Pleadings gives power to the civil court to allow parties to alter, amend or modify the pleadings at any stage of proceedings.
Provision for Amendment of pleadings has been stated in Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of civil procedure. But the court will allow amendment only if this amendment is necessary to determine the controversy between the parties. The purpose of this provision is to promote ends of justice and not to defeat the law.
Further, the Provision of Order 6 Rule 17 states that court will not allow application of amendment after the trial has been commenced unless court comes to the conclusion that party did not raise the relevant facts before the commencement of the trial. This provision gives discretionary power to the court to decide on the application of pleadings after the commencement of the Trial. An institution of the suit is necessary for applying for amendment of pleadings.
Why court allows amendment of Pleadings?
The primary objective for the court to allow application for Amendment of Pleadings is to secure the ends of the justice and prevent injustice to other parties. Also, this amendment is necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties. Amendments of pleadings help the parties to correct its mistakes in the pleadings. In the case of Cropper v. Smith reported in (1884) L.R. 26 Ch. D., 700 (710), the court stated that the object behind amendment of pleadings is to protect the rights of the parties and not to punish them for the mistake made by them in the pleadings.
What can be amended in pleading?
• Plaint filed by the Plaintiff
• Written Statements filed by the Defendant
Amendment of Pleadings when granted:
In the case of Kishan Das Vithoba Bachelor reported in 4 Ind Cas 726, the court stated that there are two necessary conditions to be satisfied before granting leave for amendment of pleadings:
- This grant of leave should not leads to the injustice to other party.
- This Amendment of pleadings is necessary for determining the real question of controversy between parties.
Other points on which Amendments of Pleadings is granted:
• When the application of amendment is filed to avoid multiplicity of suits.
• When parties in the plaint or written statements wrongfully described.
• When the plaintiff omits to add some properties to the plaint.
Amendment of Pleadings when refused:
- Application of amendment of Pleadings is rejected by the court when this amendment is not necessary for determining the real question of controversy between parties.
- Application of amendment of pleadings is rejected when it leads to the introduction of a totally new case. In the case of the Modi Spg. Mills v. Ladha Ram & sons reported in AIR 2002 SC 3369(3372) Supreme Court held that “ the defendant cannot be allowed to change completely the case made in certain paragraphs of the written statement and substitute an entirely different and new case”.
- When the Plaintiff or defendant is negligent.
- When proposed alteration or modification is unjust.
- Application for Amendments of Pleadings is refused when it violates the legal rights or cause injustice to the other party.
- Leave to amend is refused when it leads to the needless complications in the case.
- Leave to amend is refused when there has been excessive delay by the parties in filing the suit.
- Application of Amendment is refused when it changes the nature of the disputes.
- The court will not grant application of amendment of pleadings if it is made with mala fide intention.
- Where several opportunities are given to parties to apply for amendment of pleadings. But they failed to make an application.
Can the pleadings be amended if the suit is debarred by the Limitation Act ?
In the case of L.J. Leach & Co. Ltd. v. Jardine Skinner & Co reported in (1976) 4 SCC 320(321): AIR 1977 SC 680, the Supreme Court stated that court can decline the application of amendment of pleadings if it is debarred by the Limitation Act. But the court has discretionary power to allow this application to secure ends of justice. The limitation can be ground for rejecting the application but the court can allow if the court thinks that amendment is necessary.