When is Amendment of Pleadings after Commencement of Trial allowed?
[Know the law] what is Order VI Rule 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
Order VI Rule 16 of the CPC states about striking out pleadings. It states that the Court may at any stage of the proceedings order to be struck out or amended any matter in any pleading-
(a) which may be unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious, or
(b) which may tend to prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trail of the suit, or
(c) which is otherwise an abuse of the process of the Court.
The amendment of pleadings at the stage of evidence can be allowed only if the Court is satisfied that in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before the commencement of the trial.
The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah ofApex Court in PANDIT MALHARI MAHALE vs. MONIKA PANDIT MAHALE [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 189 of 2020] has ruled that amendment of pleadings at the stage of evidence can be allowed only if the Court is satisfied that in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before commencement of the trial.
Brief background of the Case
A suit for partition was filed by the respondents i.e. wife and children of the appellant. In the suit, evidence started and thereafter an application for amendment of plaint was filed by plaintiff No.3. The amendment was objected by the defendant (appellant herein). However, the learned Civil Judge by order dated 09.03.2016 allowed the application against which the writ petition was filed.
Argument set forth by the appellant
The learned counsel for the appellant submits that evidence had already begun and in view of Order VI Rule 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the amendment could not have been considered unless the Court return a finding that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of the trial.
Observation made by the Court
The Court observed that, from the evidence on record, it does appear that evidence had begun and thereafter amendment application was filed. Without their being any finding by the Court as contemplated by Order VI Rule 16 proviso, the Court ought not to have allowed the amendment. In the present case, the Civil Judge has not returned any finding that the Court is satisfied that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of trial.
Reliance was placed to the judgment of Vidyabai & Ors. v. Padmalatha & Anr. [(2009) 2 SCC 409], it was held in this case that, “It is primal duty of the Court to decide as to whether such an amendment is necessary to decide the real dispute between the parties. Only if such a condition is fulfilled, the amendment is to be allowed. However, proviso appended to Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code restricts the power of the court. It puts an embargo on exercise of its jurisdiction. The court’s jurisdiction in a case of this nature is limited. Thus unless the jurisdictional fact, as envisaged therein, is found to be existing, the court will have no jurisdiction at all to allow the amendment of the plaint.”
The Court held that, there being no finding by the Court that the Court is satisfied in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before the commencement of the trial, the order 2 of the Trial Judge is unsustainable. The High Court has not adverted to the above aspect of the matter. In view of aforesaid, we allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court as well as of the Civil Judge, the amendment application stands dismissed.
When is Amendment of Pleadings after Commencement of Trial allowed ?