The Apex Court in KUNAPAREDDY @ NOOKALA SHANKA BALAJI VS. KUNAPAREDDY SWARNA KUMARI has held that a complaint or petition under Domestic Violence Act can be amended and court is not powerless to allow such amendment applications.
The Bench comprising of Justices A.K Sikri and R.K. Agrawal dismissed an appeal against High Court Judgment which had upheld the Trial Court order allowing amendment of the complaint under Domestic Violence Act to include additional prayers.
AMENDMENT ALLOWED TO AVOID MULTIPLICITY OF LITIGATION
Rejecting the contention that court cannot allow amendment to a complaint under DV Act, the Apex Court held: “it cannot be said that the Court dealing with the application under DV Act has no power and/or jurisdiction to allow the amendment of the said application. If the amendment becomes necessary in view of subsequent events[escalation of prices in the instant case] or to avoid multiplicity of litigation, Court will have power to permit such an amendment. It is said that procedure is the handmaid of justice and is to come to the aid of the justice rather than defeating it. It is nobody’s case that respondent no. 1 was not entitled to file another application claiming the reliefs which she sought to include in the pending application by way of amendment. If that be so, we see no reason, why the applicant be not allowed to incorporate this amendment in the pending application rather than filing a separate application. It is not that there is a complete ban/bar of amendment in the complaints in criminal Courts which are governed by the Code, though undoubtedly such power to allow the amendment has to be exercised sparingly and with caution under limited circumstances.”
EVEN CRIMINAL COURTS NOT POWERLESS
Referring to S.R.Sukumar vs. S. Sunaad Raghuram (2015) 9 SCC 609, the Court said: “even in criminal cases governed by the Code, the Court is not powerless and may allow amendment in appropriate cases. One of the circumstances where such an amendment is to be allowed is to avoid the multiplicity of the proceedings.”
Affirming the Judgment of High Court, the bench observed:”If the power to amend the complaint/application etc. is not read into the aforesaid provision, the very purpose which the Act attempts to sub-serve itself may be defeated in many cases.”
Read the Judgment here.